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Copyright, 1923, by 






October 5. 

The farm seems so still. Not a voice nor a laugh 
anywhere. Occasionally there comes a roar from Kim, the 
pony stallion, staked in the mowing, or Goliath noisily 
scratches his ear, banging his hock on the porch floor; 
but for the most part there is just a whisper of leaves, 
murmur of wind in the woods, the pipe of a lone bird 
. . . and silence. For I am alone. Dolly and the yellow 
cart have just brought me home from the station. My 
child has gone to her school in town, and I am to stay 
and take care of things here. . . . Not a nice plan at all ! 
But there seems no way, this winter, for us both to 
leave the farm and its precious creatures; and education 
must go on. ... 

And if I can't have my Babs I don't want anybody. 
I want to write. I sh^dld be swamped in the enormous- 
ness of having some one else around of being respon- 
sible, on this lone mountain side, for some one's social 
well-being. . . . Besides, I want the fun of seeing if I 
can't do everything on the place myself. Everything! 
Not split it up even with a chore boy. That would be 
frightfully dull! Doing it oneself may be rather 
sport. . . 

For our crops are all in; there will only be the herd 
of Shetlands and the horses and Cressy-cow, to look after. 


1 Jtl & JU U JN Hi W 1 JN T JK Jti 

Is it so very difficult, the daily dealing out of hay? Dur- 
ing the war winter Babs and I did it together. . . . Being 
alone will be very different, of course. The idea frightens 
me a little. But I shall have Goliath and Boo-boo, and 
every spare moment I shall write. I have promised to 
keep this journal, too and I shall try. Journals are a 
joke in our family. Every year we buy beautiful ones 
and don't keep thei^ ! 

To-morrow there will be a letter from my child, and I 
shall know that she, at least, is having what she ought to 
have. That is what upholds one what really matters. 
. . . One feels oneself taking a sort of moral long 
breath! . . . 

October 6. 

It 's very funny, but in the way of things to be done 
I chiefly dread milking that cow ! It is my worst bugaboo. 
At present she is farmed out with a neighbor, and as 
long as pasture-time is here, and free milk is any induce- 
ment, I mean to keep her there. It is now three years 
since I have milked anything since our winter here with 
the beasts and the drifts (and they were drifts) ; but 
how well I remember that ache in the back of the unac- 
customed hand, I was a dilettante at milking a search- 
ing, piercing pain, which climbs to one's shoulder and 
holds on. ... 

The care of the ponies will be simple. There won't be 
very many of them only sixteen or so. We have be- 
tween thirty and forty in all (we 're egregiously proud 
of that herd!), but nearly half of them will be out on 
farms for the winter, in families where children need 



ponies to get them to school. ... As for the beloved 
saddle-horses, and Dolly, that we drive, they will be half 
one's company. They and the ponies are in pasture now; 
though I found three rascals of Shetlands out in the 
mowing the day I drove home from the station. By 
the looks of the garden, they had been in there, too, 
the imps ! I must find their hole in the fence and mend 
it swiftly. It 's an old brush fence, in sections, a very 
uncertain sort. And ponies know just how to deal with 
it. ... When snow comes the yard and pony sheds will 
be their home for the winter; although Elizabeth R., 
our darling, fuzzy baby colt, will be in the cow barn, 
where it is very warm, with the yearlings and a brood- 
mare or two. 

I wonder if it is going to be a particularly awful winter? 
Last year everybody up here in the mountains was in 
ten-foot drifts, and it was below zero for weeks. I do 
hope it won't be quite like that, for then water-pipes freeze 
in our dear old farm-house and things get rather elabo- 
rate. . . . One winces a bit at the thought of winter! 
But I love it when it comes. No neighbors are very near; 
I see only one little smoke, half a mile down valley; but 
in this beautiful solitude there are only woods and moun- 
tains, friendly brooks. ... I shall ride my Polly she 's 
slim, keen Kentucky, with a brain! and drive Dolly to 
the village for supplies. One person will eat so absurdly 
little that it will be nothing to keep supplied. I wish I 
could freeze a quarter of beef, like my neighbors, and 
have it on hand ; but fancy making one's lone way through 
all that ! Besides, I don't know how to cut up quarters 
of things stiff, gory things; I don't think I should like 
to if I knew. . * . 



As I rode up our hill on Polly yesterday, I thought that, 
if one is going to be alone anywhere, this is a pretty gor- 
geous place to be alone in. Woods and winds and moun- 
tains make up for a lot. Our little gray farm-house (it 's 
more than a hundred years old, and a darling) sits at the 
head of its valley surrounded by orchards. In the rear 
there's a high mountain pasture; wooded arms stretch 
out on both sides. Across our front valley is a blue moun- 
tain a very special mountain ; in the depths of the valley 
wanders a brook. That brook is tiny, but so nice. It is 
blue, often ; or it glints whitely up at you. Always it is a 
charming pattern. And it comes from our own spring; 
we help nourish its fishes. 

Then we have half a mile of our own road a twisting, 
woody road ; and only far below does the occasional motor 
that has invaded these hills flash by. We think we are 
safe. Motors ran us off Cape Cod; they came and 
hiccuped under our noses but we mean to "set" here! 
For we love horses. My Polly is my messenger, my 
winged conveyance. . . . 

* * * 

October 9. 

Wonderful weather no rain, and glowing sunshine. 
Everything is very sweet. And yet one feels somehow 
immeasurably alone. I am sure Boo-boo feels it, too. 
He comes in much oftener than is his wont in fine 
weather; "Pr-oo?" he inquires, looking wistfully up at 
me, and climbs into my lap, curling himself round with 
cozy cat-finality. And upon a Missis who is always bob- 
bing up about something! Life, for a little stub-tailed 
pussy, is full of trials just now. . . . Riding-trousers! 



kind mornings, I inform bald Pisgah reproachfully, glory 
stayed about until one's hair was done and one could 
rush out into the freshness and the glow and seize a 
pitchfork and breathe it all in ; and here the extinguishing 
had happened while I was buttoning my blouse ! 

Later, the sun came grudgingly out of his cloud; but 
it was a wliole hour before Ascutney had his blue again. 
This was impressive, because in all our years here I had 
never seen the reliable old thing (we call him our barom- 
eter) behave so. Except at a cold twilight, he always 
looks nice, and then it's a gray you expect. Night is 
coming on ; and the dear can't help it. Under moonlight, 
everij instead of being half invisible, he is an ineffable 
tint (the sort that Willard Metcalfe can do, best of all) ; 
and if anything could wash him out it would be a moon. 
The moon does such awful things to harbors ; everything 
vanishes in a sort of gray dance, and you can't pick up 
your moorings if you try. . . . 

This very moment I glanced out to see how Ascutney 
was. Blue as the sea, and an edge sharp enough to cut 

* * * 

January 7. 

My Babs has gone. Two whole weeks of luxury and 
laughter; how strange our hilltop seems ! The gleam has 
vanished; a vivid dulness settled down. . . .Even the 
barns seem vacant. But the animals have been uncom- 
monly nice. Goliath follows me everywhere. Boo-boo 
was early at his window, and quite frantic with cordial- 
ity. He even escorted me to Kim's yard and helped give 
him a drink of water and Boo does n't care for water- 



when walking, perhaps, sploshily, across one's winter 
barn-yard. There it is! A star, above the snow-laden 
barn roofs; a purple apple-tree leaning over the drifted 
white of the pasture lane ; or a line of many-colored ponies 
munching, against dusky sheds, at their long green wind- 
row of hay. ... I am fearfully indebted, too, to my 
lantern, especially when its chimney is nice and smoky, 
as it usually is. Perhaps I hang it inside the pony shed 
and go back, as I am always going back, for more -hay : 
behold, across the graying yard a golden doorway set 
upon the dusk, and a high square of romantic window, 
dimly orange. A most suggestive window. One expects 
a Roxane, at least, to lean out of it ; and a sound of plain- 
tive lutes approaching. If I leave the lantern inside 
the barn, and navigate the yard a la belle etoile, there 
are scary, illuminated cracks as I return. . . . There is 
something fearfully fascinating about a lighted crack. 
One always wants to peer into it. I do sometimes, well 
as I know my venerable barn. It looks as if there must 
be Somebody in there! . . . Then if I set the same 
benevolent smoky escort on the snow outside the barn's 
fagade, behold instantly a glamourous effect of footlights 
and Drama, somewhere, about to begin. The old gray 
boards, vanishing upward into dusk, are dimly golden. 
The snow is bright with gold. And the mere look of 
the lonely pathway, leading spookily away into darkness, 
sends shivers of 'anticipation down one's spine. . . . 

But the lantern sits calmly by, melting a circle in the 
snow. I pick it up and go bobbing prosaically along to 
the house; yet the vision has been the poetry is stored 
away inside one ; and I set the milk-pail on the sink, and 
take off my barn boots, with a sense of richness ineffable. 


should be thus deserting the spot where Missis should 
have dismounted and got noisily busy. . . . But the woods 
were lovely. Sunlight sifted, in great gold wafts, through 
the golden trees; dry leaves rustled; Polly loves to hop 
over logs and stumps, and we found plenty finally ar- 
riving at the coveted wire. I leaped off and tried one 
end of it. Whoever thought wire was heavy ? Impossible 
to lift that bristling roll upon the saddle, as one had 
blithely planned ; neither could Polly snag it behind us with 
a rope. . . . How would a man manage, anyway? . . . 
The woods waved magisterially above my head; a great 
silence was about us. For a moment I felt small and 
feminine and helpless. ... 

At last, unwinding a series of snaky coils, I chopped 
off a sufficient piece, which leaped at me like the arm of 
an octopus and stuck. I had a desperate time getting its 
writhing length unstuck and curled up again. Then, with 
one hand leading an alarmed and inconveniently high- 
headed horse, with the other I dragged the clustered coils 
noisily through the woods. It seemed miles to that hole! 
but at last we reached it and I set to, forcing the thorny 
stuff in and out, grasping it gingerly but always cutting 
my gloves and wrists. Barbs met you everywhere; and 
yet the strands must be pulled tight extra tight, for 
ponies ! (I could just imagine them pushing it up, having 
a merry back-scratch on barbs, and dashing out with gig- 
gles of glee !) So I hooked it round trees and over posts, 
back and forth across the fatal gap in the old stone wall 
and reinforced it with saplings. There! Surely that 
would hold them! . . . 

Then I made my way to an expectant horse awaiting 
me with very intent ears. We were in a notch of pasture 



thickly set with ferocious blackberry-bushes, so that one's 
entire world seemed just then made of prickles ; but Polly 
picked her way distastefully out and galloped off with 
me. Noon hour! 

After a dash home to give the family its dinners, we 
set out to find the wanderers. Polly, inspired by oats, 
sped gaily along, while I rose in my stirrups to peer over 
hedge-rows, scrutinizing landscape for familiar spots of 
color. . . . There they were, sweet dears, asleep under an 
old apple-tree in my neighbor's mowing. Fine ! It would 
be'easy to circumvent them. Speaking softly to the collie, 
I rode in a wide circle, then bore suddenly down on them 
with whoops. Off they went with a flourish of heels, and 
along inside the wall we raced, Polly, her head down, and 
shoulder-muscles flashing, gaining at every leap ; for Go- 
liath was taking care of the rear, and I must get to the 
barway before them and swing them toward home. We 
dashed through the opening and drew up. 

"Drive 'em!" I shouted. 

"Boo-hoo-oo-ooooo !" shrilled Goliath, as the pelting 
mob thundered up. 

"Hi !" I yelled, dancing an agitated Polly back and forth 
across the lane. The ponies stopped, hesitated, then swung 
down the lane and streamed off, headed at full speed for 
home. (Shetlands never do anything by halves ! If they 
decide to go home they go, lickety-clip !) That speed must 
be kept up, however, so that Ocean Wave, in the lead as 
usual, would be too rattled to meditate on the charms of 
a certain branch road, just by our entrance, that led down 
to the other valley (we abominate that pretty road!) and 
would take for her very life across our mowings and up 



to-the barns. Noise being, at such moments, an assistance, 
"Hi !" I shouted again, racing after them, after dust, flying 
tails, and a many-colored stream of backs ducking im- 
pertinent bushes, dashing into a wooded hollow and up. 
Here was the fateful corner. . . . Thank goodness! In 
they swung, down across our brook and up the slope to 
stand, agitated and panting, in front of the barn-yard gate. 

Cantering up, I leaped off and began to soothe. "There, 
Ocean ! . . .. So o, pets ! Whoa, darlings I" meanwhile 
stealing round to open the gate, while Goliath, every hair 
alert, stood in their rear. "Come, lambs I" In they filed, 
pushing each other, scurrying by me to bury their noses 
in the cool water of the trough. Something cold touched 
my hand ; the collie was looking up at me, laughing into 
my face with eloquent golden eyes. 

"Good man!" I murmured, hugging him. "Best dog 
ever lived! Got them, didn't we?" And, satisfied, he 
trotted down to his pet pool in the brook for a long, long 

Turning Polly into the paddock, I counted the heads still 
clustered about the trough such a pretty cluster! and 
heaved a sigh of relief. Now we would see! . . The 
afternoon was well along nearly time to ride for the 
mail. . . . Not one word of writing had one been able to 
do, since coming home to the farm; but perhaps the ponies 
would stay in. ... 

So far they have. And that was yesterday. People 
have been coming to see about taking them away for the 
winter; the yard has been full of flivvers, and my day 
of interruptions but I shall see some clear time pretty 
soon. If only that fence holds! 


October 10, 

I am very proud. No ponies are out yet ! This morning 
I saw a delightful frieze of them on the high knoll against 
the sky. Blessed angels! So nice of them to show me 
they are in, for our pasture is immense. Seven other 
pastures, I counted one day, border upon it all with 
fences in various and pictorial stages of decay. Mine are 
some of the worst. Everybody alternates in taking care 
of these boundaries, so, besides the long piece that borders 
the inside of things, our own mowings, we have seven 
other scattered sections to look after, and during our 
absence in town these brush fences have become quite 
disgraceful. So next spring, when I am here, I have 
vowed there shall be Wire, everywhere, and no more of 
this racing and chasing ! 

* * * 

October n. 

I have been to an auction. I went to buy a cook-stove, 
and came home with a colt ; I am so much more interested 
in colts than in cook-stoves ! . . . And this stove was no 
larger than our own. I wanted a regular big old country 
affair with a fire-box that would take in a tree-trunk, 
hoping then to keep our pipe-splitting kitchen warm at 
night. It is a dear kitchen, but it is not warm. Our 
pipes are riddled with mends. I am sure there is more 
solder in them than iron! Our plumber not only lives 
seven miles away but has been so untactf ul as to take on 
a mail route for a steady job. In winter, when he does 
his thirty miles with a horse and sleigh over excruciating 
hills, it of course takes him all day. Sunday is his only 
repair-time. So it behooves us to break pipes on Satur- 



days only. Otherwise, we go waterless for a week except 
for laborious buckets brought in from the watering-trough 
and those have to be boiled ! I am not keen even about 
washing my face in unsifted trough water though what 
could be cleaner, really, than nice, fastidious little Shet- 
land noses? . . . The trough is clear as an aquarium 
with aquarium vegetables waving at the bottom ; and every 
little while we banish even the vegetables. . . , 

This train of consequences simply goes to show why 
I wanted a cook-stove, and why on seeing, at eleven-thirty, 
a notice of an auction containing one, I grained Polly, 
garnered a hasty lunch, and was off for nine miles up 
a valley road. Nearly twelve ! And the auction to begin 
"sharp at one, rain or shine; plenty of shelter, terms cash!" 
(A nice rhythm to that.) Polly was both steady and 
gay; she trotted me swiftly along by the brawling stream. 
More and more the mountains folded about us, and my 
Polly's ears nodded and winked as her feet rang mer- 
rily along. She had something on her mind evidently, and 
> tweaked me round the corner by a sawmill as if she knew 
that the next turning across the brook would get us there 
which it did. (Now, how did she know that ? I did n't !) 
'We climbed a short wooded rise out of the valley, and 
there was the farm, with its big maples, its mountain view, 
which farms always seem to have, the teams hitched 
in rows along its edges, and a slow crowd circling the 
porch. Tying Polly to a picket- fence, I wandered over to 
inspect the treasures with which the porch was piled. 

A pathetic setting out of a family's household gods! 
Nearly everything, except plows and carts and my cook- 
stove, was there. China and beds and broken chairs, 
funny old pictures, the "set" of green lemonade glasses 


and pitcher, with raised, white glass flowers adorning 
them, that will be found in almost any farm-house, 
a touching epitome of the formalities of rural en- 
tertaining; sauce-pans scarred with ardent scrapings 
of the housewife's spoon ; pillow-cases laboriously trimmed 
with knitted lace, cracked pitchers and mirrors; tables, 
bedroom sets, and the inevitable row of wooden boxes 
filled with unassorted "junk." Little to attract the con- 
noisseur or the antique fiend ; indeed, the crowd was one 
of neighbors chiefly, with here or there the shrewd counte- 
nance of a cattle-dealer, or the uninteresting, stereotyped 
exterior of "city folks" dropped in to pass an idle hour. 

This auction was out of my "beat"; I saw only half 
a dozen faces I had ever seen before, and gladly met the 
smile and outstretched hand of a farmer's wife, with 
whom we had often stopped on our way to the mountains. 
She is a wonderful person; silver-haired, merry, brown- 
eyed, with a skin of peaches and cream, and the light step 
and figure of two and twenty. Her sense of humor never 
fails nor, strange to say, do her biscuits and apple-pies ! 
How any one can be so easy-going and yet such a house- 
wife, so philosophic and yet so industrious, is one of my 
puzzles in life. A gleam of sunshine made efficient ! And 1 
the brave light in her brown eyes, once seen, is not easily 
forgotten. In her farm-house kitchen, with its flower- 
filled windows, one of the pleasantest spots on earth, 
scrubbed as fresh as a white rose, and full of oven fra- 
grances, she trips about in her flax-blue dresses with a bit 
of snowy collar, her hair waving and shining above her 
smooth forehead, and talks books or politics with you. 
Not gossip. She has a mind like a man's. And then 
one of those perplexing super-pies comes out of the oven ; 



and kettlefuls of things are bounding and bubbling on top 
of the stove, and everything is made of cream and maple- 
sugar and fresh eggs and cheerfulness and humor and 
good will, and a peep at her long, dim, cool pantry, whose 
window backs up greenly, romantically against the forest 
and a great gray cliff, is a glimpse of poetry. . . . 

I was surprised to see her at an auction; unlike most 
farm wives, she almost never goes, not being dependent 
on that form of amusement. . . . But she was going to 
buy a barrel-churn, she told me, a stout, brass-bound oak 
keg, pleasant to the eye ; and Mrs. X. handled it lovingly. 
When the stout, red-faced auctioneer mounted his perch, 
staring ably about him, the crowd gathered. The women 
stayed mostly on the porch, where their modest bonnets 
rocked to and fro in chairs that were to be sold; but 
Mrs. X. and I were boldly in the thick of the men-folks. 
The men always have the best place at an auction, right 
under the fire of the jokes, where they can see the cracks 
in the under sides of the articles of crockery-ware which 
the auctioneer, if he be canny, clasps fervently to his 
bosom! If I am going to bid, too, I like to be in front, 
and lift a potent eyebrow at the auctioneer, a delightfully 
lordly feeling ; he assents so instantly to your will ! And 
when my dear Mrs, X. thus got her barrel-churn, with 
no competition, for three dollars, we pressed each other's 
hands in rapture. A mahogany mirror-frame fell to me 
for thirty cents, having escaped the hawk-like vision of 
a city person on the porch, who was bidding excitedly on 
beds and tables ; so that the wife of the village minister, 
who did long for a table for her husband's study, was 
disappointed in her quest. The city person soared easily 
above ministerial figures, but suddenly ceased bidding, I 



noticed, on a double boiler for which a young farmer 
was bashfully competing. 

"I wanted that double boiler dreadfully/' she nobly con- 
fided to me afterward, "but, do you know, it makes one 
feel positively guilty to be bidding on useful things, sauce- 
pans, you know, that these people want themselves? I 
don't want them to feel about me afc they do about Mrs. Y. 
they say, 'Oh, if she 's here, nobody can't get nothinY 
And they can't! She simply buys up everything. . . . 
But I really did need that double boiler !" she added plain- 

Glancing at her faultless clothes and arrogant marcel, 
I thought, "You don't look as if you did, my dear! or 
anything else connected with cereals and simplicity !" But 
perhaps she did. . . , 

And then we all flocked into the house, where my cook- 
stove was surrounded with investigators : bearded farmers 
lifting its lids, jerking dampers, staring learnedly into the 
oven, then closing the door with a satisfied bang ; in the 
background a tentative wife or two, timidly trying to look 
over the bunching shoulders. Mrs. X. and I, as we ap- 
proached, quite unintentionally displaced a bashful young 
man who set down his stove-lid hastily and melted into 
the crowd ; but bidding became ardent, and we soon made 
our way out the back door. 

"Sixty dollars a'ready!" she ejaculated; "that ain't any 
bargain, as I can see." 

"No," I assented; "let 's go out and look at the stock." 

"Cows don't bring anything now," murmured my com- 
panion, as we stood behind the row of rather thin Hoi- 
steins; "and there's one that's drippin' her milk!" she 
exclaimed animatedly. "I would n't ever want a cow that 



dripped her milk." The creature's bag was abnormally 
full, and from one of the teats dribbled a sluggish stream, 
forming a lavender-hued pool below. 

"Don't believe they milked her this morning," I said, 
bending down to examine the bag ; "they wanted to make 
her look like a tremendous milker " 

"Maybe you're right," said Mrs. X. reluctantly, hating 
to think even that much evil of her kind; "too bad, to 
treat 'em so ! But, anyway, I don't like a cow that drips 
her milk! What's here, I wonder?" And we pushed 
open a small door. 

It opened on a grassy barn-yard bounded by a high 
stone wall. Three horses were standing together; they 

"What a beauty!" I gasped. 

"That chestnut colt?" said Mrs. X. "Ain't she, now. 
They'll want two-three hundred dollars for her, likely. 
She's half Kentucky, half Morgan; and Ralph sets a 
store by her." 

As if aware of this commendation, the chestnut beauty 
circled proudly round the two other horses : a clumsy work 
colt, and a great black work horse with a nobly lifted 
head, and shaggy fore feet that he set down in a curiously 
tentative way. He was blind. 

"Best horse to work that ever was," said my friend com- 
passionately ; "the last horse Dick Hurley had." 

The horse pathetically tilted his head, listening to our 
voices; then the other two moved, and, feeling alone in 
his darkness, he quickly swung and followed them. The 
beauty circled again, eying me coquettishly. I stood still, 
holding out my hand ; she stole nearer and stretched out 
a long neck, her nose quivering with curiosity, then dashed 



away. From the cow barn now came the drone of the 
auctioneer : 

"Forty forty dollars gentlemen, that ain't any price 
for a good cow ! Forty-one thank you, Jim ! forty-five 
now we 're going better " 

"Good time to buy now," murmured Mrs. X., "but most 
folks is short of hay. That 's where the trouble is." 

After minutes of coaxing and maneuvering, I managed 
to get a hand on the coifs neck. And such a neck! 
Arched and muscled, with delicately cut throat, and the 
thin, silken, saddle-horse mane curving upon it. Her 
chestnut fore legs, with the lovely band of silver-gold at 
the ankles, were spread wide apart for instant flight; 
and, though standing still, she was quivering. I ventured 
a little massage on the withers, and at this the quick ears 
turned toward me, the dainty nose dropped, and a slight 
nibbling at coat-buttons began. I smiled silently, ventur- 
ing to move only fingers and eyes ; it was like caressing 
a deer or any wild thing of the forest. The velvet nose 
was at last raised to my face ; scarcely breathing, I felt 
the warm muzzle creeping over my cheek, and then 
blick ! my wild thing was off. 

The barn-door had opened. A sleek fat man in a tan 
overcoat stepped into the yard. Chirruping, and fiddling 
his fingers, he advanced toward the colt. Ducking her 
head, she flourished off around the wall. "Ha-ha !" cackled 
the fat man feebly, with a conscious glance at us; and 
walked off with dignity to a rock, where he seated himself. 

"He 's come to bid on her," whispered my friend un- 

"Has he?" I said grimly. "He won't get her!" 

And yet my heart was cold within me! From spats 


to gloves, that fat man had the sleekness of opulence. I 
hastily reviewed our resources. All very well now; but 
remember the lean winter to come, the fluctuations and 
delays of literature! My glance grew bleak as it flitted 
from this adorable investment, now gracefully dancing 
past, to the enemy seated on his rock. The objectionable 
creature had one hand in his pocket, and was complacently 
jingling something. . . . 

Just then a buzz of voices was heard, and on the high 
bank at one end of the yard loomed the crowd, headed 
by the auctioneer. 

"Somebody give me a hundred and start her off right. 
She J s a dandy !" he cried. Standing in the grass of the 
yard, I gave an apprehensive glance at the mob high above 
me. Would anybody ? ... To my surprise, the fat man, 
on his rock, was silent.' A feeble voice came from the 
back, "Twenty-five!" 

"Twenty-five," the auctioneer took him promptly up; 
"now give me thirty . . . thirty I have, give me five 
forty, give me five forty-five, give me five; she's a 
beauty; fifty, fifty-five, give me five give me five give 

me five What are you thinking about?" he roared in 

a rage. "Two years old and a beauty, sound as a nut 

and handsome Sixty! thank you, give me five. . . /' 

But at sixty she seemed to stick. I swallowed a lump in 
my throat. . . . "Sixty-five !" I quavered, so hoarsely that 
I thought he could not hear; but he pounced on me like a 
hawk. "New light broke out!" he exulted; "sixty-five, 
give me severity " The crowd was listening breath- 
lessly, and the fat man, I saw, straightened slightly up on 
his rock. It was between him and myself and the voice 
on the bank. 


"Eighty, give me five," cried the auctioneer, working us 
smoothly along; he had three bidders now, and he whirled 
ably between us. "Ninety, I thank you, lady 
ninety . . ." but the voice on the bank had dropped off. 
The fat man cast a glance at me, sank his chin in his collar, 
and slightly smiled. My heart sank still lower. "One 

hundred one hundred " the crowd stared, and I 

nodded a nervous nod "hundred and five give me five 
give me five. . . . Give me fivef he shouted in pained 
surprise, glaring at my opponent on the rock, who sat 
mute. The auctioneer pounded and roared and gamboled 
on the bank ; the louder he roared, the more my hands grew 
damp, and a hot flush mounted into my cheeks. I stared 
at that silent, that blessed fat man; not a sign did he 
make, and at last the auctioneer yelled in a fury, and at 
the top of his lungs : 

"Well, are you all through? If you 're done, I am ! I 'm 
going to sell her I 'm going to sell 'er once more I 'm 
going to sell 'er! . . . And SOLD !" he dramati- 
cally howled. ... He relaxed, as he said it, shrank at 
least two inches in height ; his wrath fell from him, and he 
bent, smiling, to his accountant. "Lady in the yard hun- 
dred and five/' he murmured, and mingled with the dis- 
solving crowd. 

There was a buzzing in my head, the trees on a knoll 
beyond grew foggy, and I found myself violently shaking 
hands with my friend, then standing quite still for a mo- 
ment, absorbedly wondering. . . . The fat man ! not poor, 
wanted the horse, but let me have her ... and my heart 
gave a sudden leap. The fat man was a dear! I should 
never dislike anybody at first sight again ! Nice, darling 
fat man! . . . 



As Mrs. X. and I wandered out of the yard my treas- 
ure's head was over the barway, staring after us. I am 
sure she knew! . . . Congratulations met me: "Great 
colt you got there!" "Coin' to train her for saddle, I 
s'pose? She's got the breedinM" And last of all (but 
not the least pertinent) : "How 're you goin' t' git her 
home ? She ain't halter-broke, ye know." 

I did know. As a transportation problem, the cook- 
stove would have been far easier. How idiotic, I reflected, 
to leave a spirited thing like that unhandled for so 

"Could we do it, Pip?" I muttered, and handled my 
girth meditatively. I did hate to leave that colt behind. 
If she was n't too ferocious I would hitch her to my saddle, 
and leave the rest to Polly. Polly is used to Untrained 
ponies; but, with a creature as big as herself pulling at 
her waistband, a creature quick as a squirrel on the side- 
wise leap, it seemed a bit dubious. My friend of the 
double boiler came up, smiling delightedly. 

"If you 're going to lead that beast home, I 9 m going 
to stay and see the circus !" 

The hired man arrived on the scene. " *T will take 
ye till ten o'clock to-night t' git a halter on her, ma'am. 
I know that colt. She 's never been off the place in her 
life. Git her daown by that steam sawmill and she 'd 
jump right on top o' you an 1 your hoss!" 

"Yes *m," corroborated a stout lady standing solicitously 
by. "An* she 'd git away an' hurt herself, an* you don't 
want your coltie hurted !" she added comfortably. I stood 
there by Polly, in a growing ring of advisers. 

" TT would be wuth twenty dollars to ye, miss," put in 
an unknown horsy-looking individual, "f have a hoss- 



breaker come here and handle her. Morgans is easy 

That settled it "All right," I agreed, swinging into the 
saddle ; and Polly streaked indignantly off with me. Nine 
miles to supper ! and dusk already fallen. The river had 
golden gleams as we loped in and out of the shadows of 
overhanging trees, and above was a young moon. Groups 
of birches, dull gold in the twilight, hung over the chat- 
tering stream . . . and I thought of Donlinna (that was 
her pretty name). I hoped she wouldn't be lonely on 
that deserted farm, and I hoped above all that she 
would n't turn out a perfect savage. . . . The hired man's 
confidences had scared me a little ... but as Polly dug 
industriously up our pitches, through the hemlock shadows, 
I smiled to myself, remembering that warm muzzle steal- 
ing over my cheek. The sweet, wild thing! A balker, 
indeed. A Wild Rose! 

October 16. 

A wonderful week-end! I wired Babs to come home. 
It was too beautiful foliage simply flaming on the moun- 
tains ; and I suddenly felt it unbearable that she should n't 
be here. So she came. We were out every minute; we 
simply rode and rode. We flew up the valley to see Don- 
linna, rejoicing at the beautiful high-spirited creature as 
she curveted about us in the fields. She would approach, 
cautiously, within sniffing distance of our horses, of 
whom, Polly seemed bored, but the Maharajah stared gal- 
lantly, apparently petrified by admiration! then, with a 
sudden bound, go galloping gloriously away. Her rich 
chestnut color was lovely against the autumn tints and 



forested mountains; and we reluctantly left her, to eat 
our supper by a brook. Later we rode home by moon- 
light. Such mountains ! in that calm light ; glints of silver 
on the stream, blackest shadow under the birches. . . . 
The bluest sky! A cool blue. The horses loved it all. 
When we stopped to rest, they put their noses sentimen- 
tally together. ... In our black woods we rode hand in 
hand ; we could not see the horses at all just felt a warm 
joggling going on beneath us. Above were bright glitters 
through the trees. The farm was a vision Alpha and 
Omega streaming purple into the sky, the low house silvery 
gray, the orchards purple. . . . Then, when one turned, 
there was the moon over the mountains, and all the valleys 
mellow in her light. 

Evenings by the fireplace, with a great blaze roaring 
up the throat of the chimney, were so good it was hard 
to end them. Hard to put out the lamp, fold back the 
hearth-rug, turn Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle's x toes in- 
ward and leave them in charge of the embers, a lovely, 
glowing crimson in the dark, and mount up-stairs to bed. 
But we could mount together; and, as of old, great-grand- 
mother's candlestick led the way, its flame flaring confi- 
dentially downward at every step. 

And then one morning there was the station platform 
again, and a strong young hand wringing mine; and I 
drove home solitary, with Goliath drooping behind. Going 
to the train always depresses him; so he soaked his trouble 
in pools, while Dolly and I plodded drearily along. And 
on our hilltop silence came round me again, like a cloud. 

1 Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle are the andirons ; neat, slim, black 
ones, with elbows a trifle out, dancing fashion, and small, sleek, 
pale-blond heads. They were named long ago; they can never 
be anything else to us but Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle. 



October 18. 

Riding home from the village late this afternoon, I met 
a stream of my dear villains trotting briskly down our 
wooded road. They hadn't been out for a long while, 
and here were Polly and Goliath and I to greet them 
ere thejr had reaped the profit of their sins ! It is a very- 
nice narrow road with a steep uphill in the woods; a 
small brook, fed from our spring, gurgles alongside, and 
ferny banks hem it beautifully in. 

"Hello, darlings!" I said serenely, as they drew up 
and eyed us in astonishment; "is n't this nice? Drive 'em, 

A flash of yellow rippled toward them: "S00-hoo-oo- 
ooooo !" and, turning, they fled in horror. Recessional tails 
whirled round a leafy corner. I patted an agitated Polly, 
who was proceeding in jumps sidewise up the hill. "So, 
lamb! They'll go." They did; and were waiting for 
us, bunched by the barn-yard gate. Meanly luring them 
with oats, I shut them in the sheds. Fence must be mended 
before they were let loose; evidently they had found a 
fresh outlet somewhere. . . . Bother a brush fence, any- 

Garnished with my usual outfit of nails, hatchets, and 
spikes, I rode hopefully forth to repair. 'My last mend 
had lasted nearly a week. ... It was too late in the day 
to grapple with wire ; I would try saplings. They don't 
break easily while they are green; and they couldn't 
possibly be dead till spring! Luckily the edge of our 
woods is thick with maple saplings that should be thinned 
out, so that one can combine forestry with fence-mend- 
ing. I like chopping saplings. They keel over with such 



absurd ease. And they seem so long when they are fallen. 
They go two lengths of fence or more, and, as there is 
only a small bunch of foliage at the top, trimming is 
negligible. In fact, the less one trims the better ; anything 
to help muffle holes ! Though ponies are not like sheep, 
you can't delude them with a fence that merely looks 
thick. They will peer and pry and get their heads through ; 
forelegs follow, then a joyful crashing, and across your 
mowing pours a glad and kicking stream ! So I nailed and 
pounded with a will, and, as dusk was coming obliterat- 
ingly down, mistook my thumb-nail for the head of a 
spike. ... It was my very last blow, and a hearty one; 
so for a moment I did a sincere dance among the thistles. 
Goliath ran hastily up, whining with sympathy ; and, from 
her tree, Polly intently stared. I could just see her white 
star gleaming and her two hind socks standing very still. 
It was nice of her ; she had been fidgeting, up to then. . . . 
And, with a very ill thumb stuck in a buttonhole, I rode 
meditatively home, appreciating the afterglow. Mountains 
were high and dark, the valleys full of dusk, and behind 
the rims of the world shone a burnt-orange fire, fading 
slowly. A big star or two had come out ; across the valley 
a dim cow-bell was sounding. 

Polly seemed meditative, too. As I unsaddled her 
she gave a soft sigh, turning her head toward the hills; 
then away into the dark went her orderly steps, seeking 

the other horses. 

* * * 

October 22. 

Donlinna is at home and I am worn out. Yesterday 
being Sunday, of course, all our farm dreadfulnesses 
happen on a Sunday, "Happy," the horse-trainer, had 


time to go up the valley, where I was to meet him. But 
I overslept, and, though Polly sped me the miles beside 
the river, a glorious day, with color everywhere, I met 
Happy a mile or two this side of the appointed spot, 
amiably persuading Donlinna along the dusty road with a 
rope as big as a cable. She looked troubled but meek. 

"Thought I 'd have t' hitch her to the axle of the car, 
to start her !" Happy remarked, with his dry smile. And 
then I noticed her mouth. On one side of the lower lip 
was a deep sore. 

"Rope bridle !" I thought, and Happy saw me looking 
at it. 

"Had to !" he commented dryly. "It done her a pile o' 
good. She '11 lead now." 

And she did. In a mile or so more she even got over 
her convulsive shying at motors, and came along with a 
bored expression. Happy's car was waiting for him at a 
fork of the road, but he first took us across the bridge 
that led away from the village and its terrors to a woodsy 
rnountain road, a short cut to our farm, over which I 
proposed to conduct the lady myself. 

"I '11 go all the way with you if you want," he remarked 
anxiously, putting the rope into my hands ; but as I smiled 
and shook my head, "Wai," he urged, "I '11 go slow along 
the river, on th' other side, and watch ye till you turn up 
into the woods. If there 's any trouble you holler and I '11 

I promised to holler. The rope was a handful, and my 
Wild Rose looked tired not to say sulky. We moved 
off. She followed doubtfully, her nose stretched un- 
willingly out. I felt a bit doubtful myself and entirely 



serious. (A great bore, to feel serious!) As for Polly, 
she was cross. She knows all about leading fractious ani- 
mals and doesn't enjoy it; so she aimed her ears back 
and frowned as she paced along, the rope grinding steadily 
across her hip. That horrid, familiar tug at the saddle- 
girth ! She chewed her bit disgustedly. Across the river 
I could see Happy's car crawling along. 

"All right?" he shouted. I waved in reply; and in a 
wreath of dust the car shot away, 

A very lone feeling assailed me. Donlinna was tug- 
ging hard on the rope, and we were on a steep incline ; 
there would be several miles more of it, as steep or even 
steeper : I must get her coming better, somehow. Perhaps 
the rope was too long. ... I shortened it, drawing her 
up by main strength, then moving cautiously on, the colt's 
nose almost on Polly's tail. Suddenly she pulled back, 
then darted forward, running across my horse's nose. I 
touched Polly with my heel, and she leaped ahead into a 
bank of solid ferns. Donny leaped also, playfully exe- 
cuting a huge kick. . . . This would never do ! Plunging 
horses in ferns where you can't see when you '11 hit a rock 
next! The kick had whistled past me and just missed 
Polly's hip. Pulling, with difficulty, the excited pair to 
a stop, and back into the road again, I dealt out more 

"Now you get behind, and stay there !" I cried. Wrap- 
ping the great rope round my hand, I spoke to Polly, 
who bent her neck and endeavored to start. Nothing 
doing ! She tugged again, yawing impatiently about. The 
rough rope bit into my hand, but I leaned forward and 
tugged, too: something in the rear began to give; we were 



off. Whoo ! I sat up again, then bent to pat the tense 
neck in front of me. "Poor lamb, did it pull her nearly 
in two?" 

We moved steadily on, Donlinna, with a dogged ex- 
pression, and her ears laid back, coming as slowly as pos- 
sible. The rope tightened and tightened ; I bent forward 
more and more, straining to hold it, while we drew that 
unwilling beast up and up, along the damp, woodsy-smell- 
ing road with its banks of maidenhair fern, its glimpses 
of the valley far below. Suddenly we were in deeper 
woods ; a brook crossed under the road in a leafy canon ; 
the air was "an emerald twilight." Going down a 
pitch Donny slackened a little on the rope delightful 
sensation ! I thought of the "green h'ants" which a South- 
ern friend, riding here with us, had assured us inhabited 
such places. On a moonlight night, when shadows are 
blackest, it would be blue h'ants dark-blue, the very 
worst kind. If you see one of those you are doomed; 
you disappear and are never seen again. If it was a 
green h'ant, you merely disappear for seven years. White 
h'ants, too, are comparatively harmless, unless they get 
you by the hair, when awful things happen. . . . 

A pleasing lore! It makes the dark so interesting, 
and just then my arms were nearly wrenched from me! 
Not a green h'ant after us but Donny, who, with both 
front feet planted, was objecting to further progress. I 
considered her for a moment. Undying resolution I saw, 
was expressed in that stuck-out nose with its bulging 
nostrils, those far-apart legs, those patient, half -shut eyes. 
So I backed Polly till the rope was slack. The colt was 
really tired this time and stood in a weary heap ; so there in 
the pleasant shade, within sound of the gurgling brook, 



chaperoned by maidenhair fern of all shades, from deep 
green to palest yellow, we agreeably waited. It was warm 
and cool both, in those woods ; high overhead the breeze 
ruffled, but around us was stillness profound. Back in 
the shadows something hooted softly. But it is a strange, 
birdless woods. The young greenery fits down over one's 
head and, often as I have ridden there, I have never seen 
a flitting shape or heard a song. . . . The green h'ants, 
of course ! 

For the next two miles Polly and I pulled in solid 
unison. At every step we seemed to pull harder. . . . 
Nice durable chin, Donny's! ... As we were both on 
the verge of exhaustion, I gasping, and Polly wringing 
hot, the mountain crest was gained. We actually began 
to go down ! Donny cheered up a little ; she even came 
sociably alongside. Mercifully we met no cars, and soon 
turned into our own half-mile of wooded road, where the 
pretty creature (yes, she was pretty, even after this!) 
forged eagerly along, lifting a tired head interestedly as 
we neared the house. The shed as we passed was a 
horrible bugaboo; so were the wood-piles and the corn 
barn, and Donny made a frightful leap into the rhubarb, 
which scared her worse ; but at last we all stood, breathing 
hard, by the barn-door. 

Orderly Polly marched into her stall, and I took the 
colt's rope, fancying all troubles at an end. "Come, 
Donny!" I coaxed. Donny lifted her ears, but did not 
move. I pulled a little. "Come, silly!" But still she 
stared. Dragons on the other side of that sill! And 
she set her feet. I set mine. I leaned back on the rope. 
So did she. I leaned so far that if she had let up pulling 
I should have gone down with a crash; but there was 



a fine life-saver on the other end of that rope ! Donny did 
not budge. After some minutes of this, I looked dis- 
tressfully round. Was there anything strong I could tie 
her to, so she could have her pull out in peace? If I gave 
in now and let her run backward, backward she would run 
for evermore. . . . No ! The big barn posts were just out 
of reach. The blanket-rail beside me would break. 
Despairing, at last, I gave a vicious jerk ; and to my amaze- 
ment she advanced a step ! Aha ! was that the way to do 
it? (I had been trying so hard not to injure the darling's 
feelings in any way!) I yanked again; she reared her 
head angrily but actually put one foot over the sill. 
Hooray ! Violence forever ! Hastily wiping my wet fore- 
head with a spare hand, I took hold and heaved again. 
A second fore foot came over the sill. . . . 

But that was all. Half in, straddling the sill, she stuck ; 
her eyes grew wide ; she snorted, and made as if to rear 
back but n ow we were within reach of a post. With 
shaking hands I fastened the rope, then seized a pony- 
halter hanging on a peg, and slipped behind her. One 
clap of the halter, Wop! and with a bound she was 
inside, dancing indignantly. I flew to the oat bin. In an 
instant more she was eating out of my hand, fairly purring 
with pleasure. I heaved a great sigh. Well! she was 
pretty obstinate ; but then she was a baby, and so affec- 
tionate. I certainly had not been mistaken in her dispo- 
sition. If only I had known how to make Happy's rope 
bridle. . . . My Babs would have known. . . . What a 
shame, to be an unmechanical ass, and dodge learning such 
things ! 

I looked at my watch. Half-past three! Nearly an 
hour getting her over that sill! 



October 23. 

A belated apple-picking is being don$ and I am helping 
pick. I am longing to ride these glorious days, but 
can't. Polly has seven sparks in her eye. ... It is very 
late for apple-gathering, usually we have hard frosts be- 
fore this; but October has been amazingly bland. The 
mowings are as green as May. A slight frost does n't hurt 
apples, if they 're left on the trees ; they smooth out in the 
sun afterward. . . . 

Because of the very hard winter last year, the crop is 
almost nothing. Our three young Macintosh Reds have 
never taken a year off before ; but this year they decided 
on a vacation. The crab-apple tree, that we care least 
about, is loaded. It always is. We used to make jelly, 
but one year we made so much, and had such a hard time 
getting rid of it, and grew so tired, during the next* 
summer (and who wants apple-jelly in July, anyway?), 
of discovering moldy jelly or crusty jelly or jelly that 
looked normal but had a significant champagne flavor, 
that it will be years before we ffcel keen about jelly again. 
We blamed war sugar, to be sure, for this, for jelly had 
never gone queer before ; but at present we are beseeching 
neighbors to bring bags and carry off the superfluous fruit. 
Crab-apples are pretty in the grass ; but I hate to see them 
fading uselessly away. If we had a pig, now ; 'pigs can 
consume the mildness of crab-apples without setting their 
poor teeth on edge as sour, cider-apples do. I ought to 
get a pig. The farm lacks balance, without one. And 
yet I dread the idea of a pig. But when Cressy comes 
home what will one do with skim-milk? Ocean Wave 
drinks it; but one can't go all over the pasture to find 



that fleet and evanescent lady. ... I sometimes don't see 
her for days. And the rest of the ponies except Bab's 
own Greylight, an accomplished, snow-white old pony, 
who drinks coffee with cream and sugar in it won't 
touch it. 

There are no apples to sell this year. Pitiful piles in 
the bins. The big Blue Pearmain tree bore hysterically, 
it was a picture, with its masses of rosy-purplish fruit 
against the sky, but we like Pearmains least of all ! No 
one pretends they are good eating ; and they make a most 
uninspired pie ... One is spoiled, and full of prefer- 
ences, on a farm ; I turn a discontented eye on bins that 
to a city dweller, I suppose, would mean riches. 

October 24. 

Delighted letters from my child about the colt. She 
wants to do all the breaking herself "and not have any- 
body take the edge off her," as I had suggested. After 
my late experience I wrote, "Donny is a handsome 
devil . . ." ; and by return mail Babs replied : "But I like 
devils ! Oh, please, don't have anybody take her !" 

My lady, however, is extremely sweet again. I have 
put her in the upper stable, and we get on smoothly. The 
box-stalls down-stairs seemed to alarm the Wild Rose a 
little, and it took a bit of psychology to get her in and 
out; but now she is perfectly happy. She has taken a 
great fancy to the society of the ponies ; they play games, 
and run, and so she has deserted the more sober horses 
for those flashing mobs which, to my terror, daily pelt 
at full speed down the steepest side of the knoll. It 
does seem as if they would ruin all their precious legs 



at once! but they never do. Shetlands have no joints, 
apparently. ... A beautiful arrangement! I am filled 
with fears lest Donny, in such rash company, hurt her 
peerless knees ; but she is in splendid spirits and makes a 
picture as she tears down that hillside, or plays in circles 
on the sky-line of the knoll. She does this at sunset, 
usually with a background of fiery sky. Her leaps are 
amazing. A bird flew out of a bush one day a mere, 
brown bird ; and that colt, in a flash, was ten feet to one 
side on a clear jump. I think of my child on her back, 
and shiver. And yet, so far, a horse has had to turn a 
somersault to get Babs really off by scraping her on the 
ground ! She has always trained animals, beginning with 
Reddy, a scamp of a copper-red Shetland stallion. She 
was ten and he was two relatively the same age ; but the 
human excels in guile. I can see, still, down the road, 
that determined mop of dark hair flying above Reddy's 
back and pyrotechnics proceeding underneath! But the 
stallion turned out a very nice little beast. 

* * * 

October 28. 

I am sitting by my favorite window, looking out on 
mountains in comparative peace of mind, having made the 
momentous decision not to ride fourteen miles to post 
Babs's letter, which should have gone, early, from our 
own little hamlet in the hills. We have just one mail a 
day, which starts at a heroic hour in the morning, and 
plunges one in perpetual melodrama about catching it. I 
have to write and post week-end letters by Thursday! 
and if I don't post them in the evening, which is some- 
times, by farm emergencies, made impossible, then there 



is the bugaboo of routing out early in the cold and dark 
and riding off pell-mell, breakfastless, on a disgusted horse 
that does n't want to go ; or the still more imposing buga- 
boo (which I have just demolished!) of those seven miles 
and back to the village that boasts two mails a day. 

After all, there is an antiquity about these inconven- 
iences a primitiveness that rather pleases one. I once 
achieved a youthful essay entitled, "On Being Remote," 
whose main argument was that remoteness was a relative 
condition that if you were near what you liked best, i.e., 
sky and woods and mountains, you were not "remote" 
even if you were etc., etc., a subject capable of loving 
expansion over indefinite pages; but with the matter of 
that youthful theme I still' find myself in agreement. 
What portends an occasional and annoying gallop at raw 
dawn ? Difficulties particularly when one can take horse 
and daunt them are good for the soul. Babs and I never 
knew how good, until we had a farm. . . 

Ooo! it's snowing! And there's still color on the 
woods. ... I thought I was dreaming, just now, when 
I went up the mowing road and saw a film of snow on 
Ascutney ; but here it comes ! Long Hill is disappearing 
in a wave of gray and white. And my sweet peas are still 
nodding at me by this window, fresh and lovely. Poor 
darlings, I must pick them before night; it is growing 
very cold. It has been rainy for several days. . . . Oh, 
those sweet peas against the snow-storm! One red one, 
like a ruby; then amethyst and deep purple and clear pink 
and blue and cream-white, with the freshest of sea-green 
foliage ; all waving against a delicate, pale-gray landscape. 
One rose-colored blossom reaches above the rest, to print 
itself on a snow-troubled sky. . . . An immense piquancy 



about flowers in a winter world ! And these of mine are 
so water-colory they make me yearn for a brush. There 's 
a belt of golden birches and poplars, too, in the woods 
below, with veils of irrational snow drifting across ! The 
mountains, blue a minute ago, are going gray-white. So 
are my purple woodlands. . . . 

I shall have to get those horses in or I shall lose them. 
It has been spring-like until now, and three of them are 
out in the grassy freedom that they love. Only Polly is 
in a stall. Poor Polly! she doesn't see why she has to 
stay in and never "go out with the girls" ! I tell her it 's 
the penalty of being an angel. Besides, I really have to 
have one steed that I can locate at short notice. In a 
spasm of sympathy I did let Polly out one day, and that 
colt Donlinna (I saw her chestnut tail waving in the lead !) 
led the whole bunch, except faithful Dolly, over to a 
neighbor's. A dozen ponies were with them. So I had to 
ride Dolly over to get them, and dear Dolly, though a good, 
plain, saddle animal on a plain, legitimate road, has had 
no cow-pony education whatever, and is aghast at field 
tactics. She is not even bridlewise does not whirl at a 
mere touch of a loose rein swung against her neck; so, 
though she pounded conscientiously about, panting, her 
great eyes bunging out with anxiety, I found it simply 
impossible to round up that "contrairy" bunch without my 
scooting Polly under me. They were flirting over the 
fence with another horse a. great, galloping, whiggering 
beast and either would n't budge or else darted wickedly 
about and eluded us. I actually had to ride back for 
ropes and lead them, home in humiliating instalments! 
Shocking for good, well-broken steeds ! And my Polly 
was the wildest and worst. I could hardly catch her. . . . 



Also, they had been wet in the hard shower and then 
rolled in a plowed field. Riding along the lane beside 
their disreputable backs, I told Polly she was an immoral 
old potato-patch. . . . She looked it. Later, when they 
had dried off and were being ferociously groomed, I 
could n't see across the stable for dust but worked away, 
sneezing, or rushing to the door for air. So since that 
day I have put up a temporary bar across the lane, much 
to Polly's annoyance when I have to dismount and take 
it down ! and they 've stayed in. I don't want to groom 
such a mess again very soon ! 

Snow is stopping, though a few decorative flakes still 
wander across the woodlands. Long Hill is deep purple 
again; the few yellow leaves on Alpha are distinct and 
lovely against it. I have a blazing fire, and a kettle on it 
saying "Spiz zz !" very deliberately. A leak, I suppose. 
Leaks are almost always musical ... I ought to be: 
Picking up the old shingles that were ripped off the barn 
Putting down hay 
Mending fence 
Training colts 
Cleaning stable 
Planting bulbs 

Picking up dead branches blown down by the storm 

Cooking, and a few other things not to mention writ- 
ing; but, as I am irrationally- tired to-day, it feels good 
to sit and roast and write peaceably on these notes. I 
was long-distance telephoning most of the morning, set- 
tling the fate of half a dozen ponies for the winter ; per- 
haps that is why I feel so. I don't know any other process 
apparently so facile but really so exhausting as long-dis- 



tance telephoning; virtue seems to be pulled out of one, as 
by ropes. . . . 

Besides, one worries about putting the ponies out. It 
is like disposing of a score of orphans, in untried homes ! 
So much depends on so many things whether it will harm 
them or not. They almost always come back to us in 
fine physical condition; it is their little morals that suffer. 
Psychology must be diligently considered. Sometimes a 
child can do nothing with a particular pony, but is en- 
tirely at ease with another which a second child could n't 
manage at all ; and then that second child gets along per- 
fectly with the steed the first child had difficulties with ! 
It is most perpkxing. 'How often I wish we could have 
the training of the children as we have trained the ponies ! 
Annoying, to have a good little beast returned to you 
with a flaw in its disposition or a bossiness on the road 
it never faiew before ! All the fault of handling : wrong 
treatment, or ignorance. There is a list of poor angels 
"that any idiot can manage" ! as my child brusquely says 
and a weary time they have of it, being turned over to 
the unhorsy; there are fleet ponies suited only to those 
who can sit in a saddle and handle their reins ; and there 
are animals of perfect amiability but of such determination 
on the road that they are fitted only for those who can 
not only sit in the saddle and handle reins but (as my 
experienced child again says) "kick and cluck and whack 
at the same time!" a really superlative ability. 

These latter methods, of course, are for emergency 
only ; but emergency will occasionally arise. Getting Elea- 
nor past the church sheds, for instance where once, in 
past ages, she was given a feed of oats ! Pull the star- 
board rein as you will, Eleanor, with her nose in your 



stirrup, curves herself in a half -circle and continues on 
her course into those sheds. She comes out of them with 
perfect kindness, but the trip has to be made first. And 
Eleanor is a darling pony the kind that is all chubbiness 
and fuzzy hair and thick neck, with an affectionate though 
slightly square and dominating nose. The children love 
her, and in "horsy" hands her conduct is unimpeachable ; 
but the minute Eleanor feels a "greeny" on her back 
keep in the road ? Not she. With one roll of an accom- 
plished eye, she is up the nearest bank, or cantering vic- 
toriously round the unindicated turn. . . . 

Then there is Duchess, a golden-yellow pony with silver 
mane and tail and stockings and blaze very beautiful, 
soft-bitted, and kindly; but she has a funny mannerism 
we call "dip-nosing." As she trots along under new 
hands she suddenly dips her head to the ground, leaving 
the youngster feeling, for a moment, as if he were seated 
on the edge of a precipice. Alarming till Duchess finds 
out you don't mind, when she abruptly stops doing it! 
In any animal except a Shetland that gesture would indi- 
cate a deep desire to buck; with our dear Duchess, it is 
merely the game to "dip-nose," and not really worth keep- 
ing up. Her daughter Marigold, likewise ,a golden 
charmer, inherited a few impatiences with the head, but, 
having been in wise hands since her babyhood, is rapidly 
losing them. Probably Marigold's foal, if there is one, 
will be immune. . . . 

The Chickadee left her precious garden and came over 
on my birthday; we wandered in the fields, picked up 
two baskets of butternuts, languished at mountains, in- 
spected the ponies (including her adorable godchild, Eliza- 
beth K., who was investigating a turnip patch, and in a 



most affable state of mind, coming up to us with a woolly 
nose stretched out), and had a lovely gabbly time. Talk 
is a boon, these days ! and much lacking in my present life, 
especially at meals. No conversation except "Skuz!" to 
Boo-boo when he leans on my knee and sticks in claws 
unbearably hard. ("Skuz" is Boo's own particular word. 
He is such a superior cat that Babs and I have always 
felt it beneath his dignity to have a common "scat" aimed 
at him ; so we invented "skuz," a word less intolerant in 
tone, less explosive and alarming. And, though it is 
almost impossible to alarm Boo-boo, we don't want to 
try. He is one of the family; would one say "scat" to 
one's family? . . .) So, until I can steel myself to mono- 
syllabic meals, I am taking dinners at a square white 
house on the valley road, where they are untiringly good 
to me and tolerate a late person coming panting in from 
pony chases, and where every day I have a beautiful hour 
of gossip with my hosts. Of course we gossip! In the 
country, it is disrespectful not to ; we do a perfect job at 
it and I start home refreshed. 

* * * 

November i 

A silly day so far. Writing letters and fussing with 
ponies and cooking stew. And when there are so many 
big things to be done on the farm ! . . . I can't do them 
myself putting the blown-off boards back on the sheep- 
barn roof, for instance; but when every available man 
or boy is busy, the deer-hunting season coming on, when 
nobody can be got to do anything, it gives one a horrid, 
squashed feeling, somehow. As a dear literary aunt once 
said to me about housekeeping, turning up her eyes in 



despair, "I can't cope with these things, my dear; I can't 
cope with them!" ... I shall be feeling that way soonf 

Well, the letters had to be written, and (I suppose) the 
beastly stew had to be cooked ; but I '11 never embark on 
a stew again. I did an enormous one, to save cooking 
anything else for as long as possible a stew lasts for- 
ever; but when one isn't skimming or stirring, one is 
slicing vegetables, or putting wood on the fire; putting in 
more wood, more water boiling, simmering, skimming 
again, seasoning, tasting an endless round. Stew is so 
persistent; so successive. And so deterrent to mental 
processes ! Then when it 's all finished, and the morning 
gone, behold! it is nothing but something to eat and 
might just as well have been a short thing, completed in 
ten minutes. A New England bringing up is a fearful 
thing. It leads one to believe that combinations like this 
are estimable, also economical. Fanny says so; and 
Fanny, in a staid brown linen cover, has been, in maidless 
regions, one's household salvation. Ever since, in a little 
house on a dune, I made my first gingerbread under 
Fanny's direction, and saw to my amazement, a wet 
thing in the oven begin to swell up and grow brown and 
crusty just as Fanny said it would, I have sought, in 
a domestic way, no other gods. ... But I don't believe 
Fanny, or anybody, ever said stew is economical of time 
and that 's what, this winter, I shall be miser of. If 
I were running ten farms, I should still carve out a space 
for my job. . . . 

Yesterday, also, was a day of practical exertions. Kind- 
ness, our black Welsh pony mare, got out, and after riding 
in a dozen different directions I found her at D.'s, a mile 
away. Kindness's long legs do a good job while they 're 



about it. Winkie was with her dear, tractable Winkie, 
the same color but just half the size. Kindness is slim 
and tall, Winkie short and fat; they made an amusing 
pair, galloping guiltily along the lane neck and neck. As 
that was a rather serious naughtiness, going so far away, 
I have both of them on stake-ropes for a few days. 

Animals on stake-ropes are a care. If they are not get- 
ting wound up, or tangled round a bush or a stub in the 
ground so small you did not see it and were sure you had 
them in a clear spot that time (and we have ponies who 
would wrap their rope round a grass-blade with success), 
why, then they are hungry or thirsty; you must be taking 
them to the trough, or shifting them to new grass. A 
hearty pony will eat a twenty-foot circle to its roots in 
a short time. Ponies love roots, anyway ; with green feed 
at hand, I have seen them stand in one spot and paw 
just grubbing for something new, something a bit more 
interesting than grass. For a Shetland's active little mind 
needs feeding, as well as the rest of him. In winter the 
herd gets so bored in the barn-yard, so sick of confine- 
ment and limitations, that they fall to kicking each other 
out of mere soul-weariness. I have often thought I would 
make them a present of a foot-ball or plaything of some 
sort and see what they would do with it. They might eat 
it ; they certainly would n't let it alone till they had ex- 
hausted all its possibilities, mental, moral, physical! . . . 

On a stake-rope, therefore, a pony gets fairly desperate ; 
especially if he is out in a far meadow away from society, 
from anything more enthralling to watch than the flight 
of a bird overhead. For I have seen a bored pony watch 
a bird; swing its head and roll its eyes pathetically, in 
a wistful following of that swift way of getting where 


one wanted to ! "Oh, for the wings, for the wings of a 

dove 1" was a thought plainly visible ; as was the big 

sigh that heaved those round sides after the bird disap- 
peared. ... So compassion a troublesome adjunct in 
farming! gets the better of you, and you spend time and 
social effort stalking over the fields to console these shut- 
ins. Poor dears! they do brighten up so when they see 
you coming. Conversing busily meanwhile, you take a 
casual burr (or a ball of burrs, perhaps) out of tail or 
foretop; pick up a scrap of a foot to see if it needs trim- 
ming; fondly scrub an investigating rubber-nose with the 
palm of your hand, that always seems to amuse a pony ; 
part the hair along the spine to look for animation within ; 
braid a tangled mane, plant a kiss on a happily-uplifted 
head, and pass on to the next. 

Kim is always on a stake-rope, or chain, rather; he 
eats ropes, so is used to it, and does n't need visits. He 
takes his animation out in roars, for if ever an equine 
ear appears on his horizon off he goes with a salute 
of twenty-one guns immediately. At least it seems so 
sometimes when one is riding over the fields on a job 
and not wanting to be howled at. Though it takes a sight 
of pony size to make him really show off. When I drive 
a bunch of Shetlands down past him, Kim not only roars 
but takes such an earnest run to go with them that he 
forgets there is an end to his chain and turns a somersault 
when he reaches it, getting up with dried grass in his 
foretop and such a baffled expression. . . . 

In the afternoon, when I had Winkie and Kindness 
nicely settled, the telephone rang. "Mrs. B. says some 
of your little ponies are in her new-seed piece, and will you 
come and take them away." I would. Polly and I went 



round the corner on two and a half legs. Fifteen of them, 
I counted ! all busily grubbing up tiny, tender grass. . . . 
Hurroosh Boo-hoo ! . . . Goliath chased them round the 
buildings, while Polly and I lurked in the front yard, Mrs. 
B. looking out of her door and beaming at our efforts. A 
mad stream shot out into the road Boo-hoo again! and 
off for home. Polly simply lay out flat to follow them. 

Ocean Wave, after a lapse of days, has appeared in the 
barn-yard this morning. For some time I had been saying, 
with a start of remembrance, "Oh! I must go and see 
where Ocean is !" so, when I turned the corner of the corn 
barn and saw that fond smile of hers looking over the 
fence at me, I was rejoiced. Ocean was so glad to see me 
she grinned steadily for ten minutes! Ever since our 
riding-trip this autumn, when she was our pack-pony (a 
most humanizing experience),' she has been our devoted 
slave, and runs to greet us. ... I gave her a peppermint; 
she obediently ate it and took a quick dive for the water- 
ing-trough! Then she looked ruefully round at me: 
"What in time was that thing? 5 ' I never saw a more 
disgusted expression. And my Polly would walk up-stairs 
for a peppermint! 

I have n't seen Ocean since. Probably she has reverted 
to her favorite back pasture, not ours, where live 
the work horse mare and colt she has developed such an 
affection for. Since our trip, she prefers the society of 
big horses quite scorns her own kind. 

Donlinna is going on nicely now. She leads very well 
where she wants to go! And I can coax her the 
other times. Like Kipling's Babu, she is a "very fearful" 
person afraid of the narrow path by the corn barn 
(where she once jumped into the rhubarb !), of new doors 



and gateways, of anything that looms over her head ; but 
she is growing more and more affectionate, in a shy, wild 
way that is touching. She nibbled my ear yesterday. I 
stood most.still. . . . It takes a certain nerve to let animals 
nibble you, but Donlinna is absolutely trustworthy in that 
way; so I let her sniff me all the way to my toes her 
favorite caress without a qualm. . . . She is not so trust- 
worthy with animals, however, her great joy now being to 
go up to poor Kim, staked out in the field, smell of his 
nose tenderly, then turn round and flash him a most ter- 
rific kick in the chest ! He is beginning to look very coy 
when she approaches. 

Little Errands, a pretty brown three-year-old about half 
Kim's size, is his slave at present. She hangs around 
him all day and all night ; and to-day I found her securely 
moored to his rope ! one hind ankle twisted and tangled 
in the strands not two feet from his nose. Kim, with a 
slightly annoyed expression, was grazing calmly. Errands 
is very shy the only one of the herd, except a baby or 
two, afflicted in that way; and I had a time untangling 
her. She struggled till I thought she would leave a leg 
behind, pulling her captor's head down and down, while 
I marveled at his patience. . . . Kim certainly has a dis- 
position in a million; when I had Errands free at last, I 
gave him a cautious hug and braided his silver f oretop for 
him. I love that f oretop. And .his wavy, shining mane. 
When I go up the lane for him at dusk we never leave 
him out overnight I can hardly see him. But I find him 
by his f oretop. It shines out so on the dark. ... He is 
always standing very still at the extreme end of his tether, 
staring intently at me. And then he leads down very fast, 
twirls into his box, and jams his nose into his grain ! I 



have it there waiting for him, because several times he 
has knocked the oat measure out of my hand in his enthu- 
siasm, and batted it all round the stall. 

Yesterday I drove him to the village in the pony break- 
cart. We met the usual fifteen ponies in our narrow 
wood road, sweetly coming home all by themselves, and 
nearly had a. smash-up, he was so thrilled. He howled and 
jumped and bellowed and backed the cart into the bushes ; 
but I got him by and felt very limp afterward. Later we 
passed a man who stopped an abominably long time to 
talk, putting up one foot on the wheel ; and Kim tactfully 
drew the cart over Mr. X.'s toe. I was so charmed ! The 
cart is light; I loathe having boots planted on my wheels. 

November 9. 

I seem to be neglecting this journal; but such a busy 
week ! And now there is only time for the merest head- 
lines. . . . Thursday, drove twenty-four miles with Dolly 
and the cart (to see about a pony, of course!). Friday, 
Polly and I took Duchess twenty-two miles over a moun- 
tain road to her winter home. Such mountains! and 
Duchess pulled back most of the way. A gorgeous ride 
wild beauties on every hand, color flaring still in sheltered 
nooks, and always evergreens and rocks and brooks. , . . 
Duchess has a nice big stall next to the cow; when I said 
good-by to her she had found a way to squeeze her nose 
into the cow's manger and was very busy munching grain. 
Duchess won't grow thin this winter; she's a butter-ball 
already. . . . The people insisted on my staying to din- 
ner, and were very kind. We went home slowly, and, 
reaching the village just at supper-time, were told that 



"the machine" was coming up next day to thresh our oats, 
but that I was to "get the help"! And six men are 
needed ! 

They had always brought their own help before. With 
dire foreboding and a sense of injury (mixed!) I hurried 
home. Polly and I were weary. I changed horses, took 
a bite to eat, and rode out over the darkening hills. I 
rode and rode. Next morning, I rose by a dark-gray dawn 
and rode some more breakf astless ; and in all collected 
five unwilling men. (They do hate a threshing job ! and 
one can't wonder such a dirty, blinding, choking affair.) 
The sixth was not to be had ; neither telephones nor horse- 
legs could raise him ; and the valiant five turned- to and did 
the threshing somehow. How they did fly ! The boy who 
tended the sacks where the stream of grain pours in was 
incessantly jumping; above him the owner of the ma- 
chine, who sees to the stuffing of straw into its hungry 
maw, madly stuffed and stuffed, in a whirl of thick dust, 
for hours. One other man purveyed straw to him, dash- 
ing back and forth between the pile and the thresher, while 
the two remaining "help" neighbors, who had come over 
out of the kindness of their hearts desperately clawed 
away, and stowed inside the open cow barn door, the 
threshed straw that came steadily rushing out at them. 
We were all glad when it was over (a frightful noise a 
thresher makes!), the dust settling, and the fine, fat oats 
safe in the bins. Oats have such a rich look. There seems 
little more needed to take one through the winter, once 
those important bins are full. 

But I surveyed rather ruefully the strange sight of my 
cow barn crammed to its ceiling with yellow straw. We 
have never done that before, either! But there was n't an 



inch of room in the lofts; the hay crop was beyond all 
reckoning this year. . . . Well, I shall have to put Cressy, 
when she comes home, in the horse barn. And that is a 
mess. I hate a cow in a standing stall ! And it will prob- 
ably be weeks before I can get a man to move that straw 
into the loft after hay has been hauled out to make room 
for it ! ... Anything, however, to get the threshing done. 
I J d put a cow in the summer kitchen for that ! 

After the excitement was over that evening, and every- 
body put to bed for the night, I fell asleep in my chair 
just long enough to wake up smothered and find that the 
lamp was flaring and the room thick with falling soot! 
So, next morning (of course it was Sunday), when I had 
conspired to rest, it behooved me to take the blackened 
room to pieces and make it over again all fresh and new. 
. . . Then, after hours of labor, just as I had heaved a 
sigh of relief and sat down to dinner in a decent room, I 
saw flakes of snow wandering down; so I hurled dinner 
in the oven and ran hastily out to salvage the great heaj? 
of yellow chaff in front of the hay barn doors that I 
did n't want to have get wet. Chaff is invaluable bedding. 
It would take too long to get Dolly and put her in the 
wagon she was out somewhere; so I seized the hand-cart, 
opened the barn-yard gate, wheeled the stuff, load after 
load, to one of the sheds, and shut it safely up. 

That evening, too, I fell asleep over my supper ! and 
went abjectly to bed. 

* * * 

November 10. 

A stirring day; November at its best with a sort of 
delightful menace in the air. Riding up on our mountain 



mowing to herd down ponies, I stopped a moment to take 
in that heartening scene. Deep-blue mountains rimming 
everything; pink, rolling hills; purple woods, with a dash 
of poplar-gold and over all a lowering gray sky. The 
thick, pleated kind. The wind was fitful, but in it, as it 
blew from those far mountains, was a hint of something 
different ; something I had not felt before. Winter ! And 
I squared my shoulders, drawing a great breath. . . . 

Something to meet, there. A battle with cold and snow 
and bitter winds ; and a barnful of dear helpless ones to 
care for. I looked down at the huddled orchards, the red 
gable-end, the three small chimneys sticking out; and at 
the miniature village of roofs about the tiny barn-yard. 
Presently those gray roofs would be deep-blanketed in 
white ; the little red gable would show bravely above curl- 
ing drifts. . . . All the world (except where it was 
purple) would be white; and all day, all night long under 
the winter moon, two small smokes would drift away. 
Three smokes, if one were prodigal. But, like my neigh- 
bors, I should probably condense and live on the sunny 
side of my house, leaving the living-room in charge of the 
frosts. Those fireplace logs are big and heavy. It is 
something to keep the two other fires stoked and supplied. 
Their capacity, on windy days, seems tremendous ! 

But I shall like my battle. This sort of day puts one in 
mood for it. Plenty of wood in the shed, jam and pota- 
toes and apples in the cellar, hay and oats and Cressy in 
the barn. Pooh what is winter? I have a feeling it is 
very near; but to see the storms whirl across the woods ! 
Last winter in town we missed it all; and Babs was 
mourning for "my snow !" . . . 



November 12. 

My dear, friendly Cressy is here. She scared me so ! I 
went into the barn at dusk, had no lantern with me and 
was unsaddling in the blackness but there was Some- 
thing in a box-stall breathing! I knew I hadn't put 
anything in that stall ; but then I smelted a milky smell 
and knew. 

The pasture is rather dry, and so I am staking Cressy 
out in the mowings. She seems pleased to be at home. I 
never was so stared at ! She is in the little orchard to-day 
where the ponies won't touch the grass because six 
years ago geese trod on it! and everywhere I go those 
big solemn eyes follow me. She even stops chewing, to 
stare. A rare tribute ! I am very lame from milking, but 
it is delightful to have cream again, and Cressy, with her 
honest cowiness, is a relief from incessant horse. It seems 
good to handle a food-producer. And yet how I dread to 

A strange season. There are still a few golden leaves 
on the birches ; to-night there was a surge of boiling gold 
in the west, edging purple clouds. ... I saw it beauti- 
fully from the barn-yard our barn-yard is a scenic spot 
while I was collecting buckets of water for the house. 
A leak in our plumbing ; so I totter in with pailf uls from 
the trough. 

This seems to be a semiannual performance. I did it 
for weeks last spring, before the plumber could be haled 
from other and more convenient village jobs. He has 
a beautiful excuse seven miles away, and a wet hill at 
the end. (I think there is a spring under our road in the 
woods.) Br-rr-rrrrr! go defeated tires. . . . But it is a 



long and variegated walk in from that trough through 
barns, round corners, or else up a hill and through a gate. 
And one has sufficient hauling of other substances to do, 
especially at the late, weary end of the day. Hay and 
wood; wood, wood, and hay in Perpet-u-o! (I feel 
like making a Latin anthem out of it. What is Latin for 
hay? Or wasn't hay invented then?) 

But that wood-pile is one of my trials. Our wood has 
always been put in the shed in orderly stacks, with an aisle 
down the middle, but this wood was thrown direct from 
the sawing-machine into a huge heap in the middle of the 
shed. A .few stacks line the walls; but the mountain is 
interdictory. One can't get at the stacks ! Small wood is 
mixed with large, and so over the pile one climbs, select- 
ing. Every time I expect it to slide under me ; every time 
I give thanks for a descent without a sprained ankle. 
Very often wood has caved and I have gone sliding down- 
ward with it ; twice I have hit my lantern, putting out the 
light, shattering the globe. A wood-shed is n't as inflam- 
mable as a hay-loft; but I don't love a lantern breaking 
all over it, just the same ! Nor do I enjoy sitting violently 
down, with a load in my arms. . . . Night and morning, 
however, I continue to climb reviling, as the mountain 
ominously stirs and rumbles under me, the makers of that 
pile; also wondering, incidentally, if I shall get through 
the winter without a bad smash. ... I can't smasfi ! This 
whole winter depends on my being able to poke hay to 
beasts. I will poke hay ! 

* * * 

November 13. 

A most thorough time getting ponies. Instead of racing 
home properly across our mowings, they all dived down 



the branch road through the woods, and, as I would n't 
trot my Polly down that steep hill, they got a dreadful 
start on us. I heard the thunder of them across the flats 
before we were half down. The imps ! knowing we were 
after them, they did n't even turn in at any of their usual 
places, but scudded out on the main road, and so, after a 
good deal of riding about and consulting neighbors, I 
discovered them at last high on the sky-line of a pasture 
between us and home. 

This pasture adjoins our land and is a great 
amphitheater, woods on its crest, and hillsides rolling 
steeply down to a bit of valley our front valley with 
the brook in it. (A gorgeous spot which we mean to 
own some day ; it is our view, and it *s nice to own your 
view.) Just as I rode up, the ponies scrabbled over a 
wall. They tangled their legs in loose barbed wire and 
didn't mind a bit but tumbled over anyhow, a pictur- 
esque muddle of manes and tails and leaping shapes ; then 
off! gamboling happily across the steep, goldenrod- 
forested slopes below the woods. 

Alas ! Polly and I scrutinized that wall up and down ; 
but I have had experience in catching a horse's hind ankles 
in wire. Polly is a good wall climber, and a fair jumper ; 
but barbed wire ! It rises up and smites you when you 
think you 're safest. ... So I tied her, very wondering, 
and staring after me with big eyes, in a scarlet sumac 
grove, and pelted off on foot. Stumpy things feet ! after 
one is used to musical undulations- under one. . . . Stones 
and stumps and hollows that hillside was made of them ; 
and the ponies were clean out of sight. . . . 

They came in view soon, however on the upland by 
our front wall. If I could only hop them over right there ! 



but the barway was far down across the swamp, in the 
valley. Racing down the cow paths, an excited dog at 
my heels, I let down the bars and planted him in the road 
outside. "When the ponies come down, Gli," I explained 
with elaborate pantomime, "you drive 'em! Boc-hool 
Drive ponies home ! See ?" Sitting down in the exact 
middle of the road, with a conscientious tail sticking 
straight out behind, he rolled wise eyes at me and prom- 
ised. I ran up the hill and started the ponies. Soon they 
were beyond any jurisdiction of mine, sweeping down 
toward the bars, and I could only wait praying that 
Goliath's wits be equal to the occasion. 

They were. As the ponies slowed down by the bars, 
and began to leak through, a wild voice from the other 
side a collie voice desperate with responsibility shrilled 
at them ; collie yelps echoed in the woods, and yes ! bless 
him forever! 'up through the trees they came, worrying 
along, single file, nose to tail, nudging and nipping at each 
other, the sunlight glinting on white and yellow and bright 
bay. . . . Secreted by our wall I watched them file by; 
and with such peace at heart. For if something had n't 
turned them they would have darted off to the wide world 
again, and all the long process been to do over. Behind 
the last tail came faithful Goliath, pacing demurely 
along. He never hurries an animal that is going 
where it ought ; and the dears were just then a picture of 
conscientiousness. Uphill is good for their morals. Down- 
hill they are imps. Elizabeth's fat fuzzy sides were 
heaving, I saw, as she pressed close by her mother's flank ; 
while Thalma's eyes, in her little black head, rolled watch- 
fully backward . . . that dog! If they only knew how 
angelically harmless he is ! But heaven has given him a 



screech like tack-nail across a window-pane it pierces 
their little injy-rubber souls; and what this farm would 
do without it, goodness knows ! With much guile we got 
them into the sheds, after which Gli put his kiss on my 
hand, then hung two golden paws (with their dear little 
silver tips shining in the sun) over the edge of the trough, 
and delicately lapped. . . . 

But there was still Polly to be rescued from her sumacs, 
so over our front wall I went. Boo-boo, who loves walks, 
was delightedly following me, and of course Goliath; but 
I was rather surprised when, with a crashing and wallop- 
ing of stones, Cressy, who had slipped her rope, also 
blundered over that front wall and came gamboling after 
me ! ... A cat, a collie, and a cow ! I felt delightfully 
escorted. Much elated at her feat, Cressy went leaping 
down that hillside, waited for me at the bottom, crossed 
the brook, and started, with coquettish head-shaking, up 
the other side. The old dear! It was sweet of her to 
want to walk with her Missis, but after one had labored 
achingly up the tremendous slope, and ridden all the way 
around by road there was still an errant Cressy, at large 
in a strange pasture (and cows are usually idiots in a 
strange pasture), to redeem. . . . 

The poor thing had followed me as far as she could, and 
I had left her staring over the wall into the sumacs, mur- 
muring "Mm-baw!" to herself. The note of cow dis- 
appointment. . . . But when Polly and I reached the bar- 
way, expecting a long climb to get her there she was 
quite near us ! nid-nodding busily down one of the trails 
and talking as she went. "M-m ! . . . Mm-baw 1" I gave 
one casual "c'boss," and she fairly galloped to meet us. 
Lonesome, she said, she 'd been ; and a very happy cow 



paced feverishly ahead of us, up the wooded pitches to- 
ward home. 

Boo-boo had reached there first, and, upright on his 
special stone on the wall, a scenic stone, whence he sur- 
veys the world, he greeted us warmly, falling in behind 
Cressy as she waddled to the barn. 

One began to think one's animals were collected, and 
where they belonged, at last ! 

* * # 

November 14. 

A queer autumn, this. One o the most exquisite, 
with rarest coloring, blue haze and atmosphere, days fresh 
and yet warm. And it leaves me cold. I look at beautiful 
woods and hillsides, my mind approves them, I murmur 
with the greatest sincerity, "How lovely that is" ; and yet 
it doesn't matter a rap. 

Solitude, I suppose. For whenever my child is here, 
things bloom again. Feeling comes alive. That is my 
trouble! a sort of deadness to what I so much love. 

A most external time, too, one seems to be having. I 
race and chase so much things so drag me physically 
hither and thither, I don't have a real thought a week. 
"... To sit down and be happy thinking," R. L. S. 
says ; yes, indeed ! But if you have to jump on a horse 
and think about stones in the road? . . . For years I have 
been used to being sedentary in the morning, and 
can stand as many hours on a camp-stool as the next 
person; but this scatteration this scrabbling; this activity 
that has but infinitesimal relation to the brain dear me, 
it's tiring! A farm is like a very large and extended 
baby. It takes a great deal of time and very little men- 



tality. Or rather the mentality is so terrifically spread 
out that one is unconscious of using any ! . . . And then 
being all alone comes in, too. Every time any one goes 
to the barn it 's yourself. Every time there 's something 
the matter in a far pasture it 's you that inspects it. You 
saddle your own horse and fetch your own milk and lay 
your own table and cook your own meals; worst of all, 
you decide everything you yourself! That, on a farm, 
is a career in itself. It's up to you! And so awfully^ 
actually up. Decisions are real ; not concerned with hypo- 
thetic art. ... If you are going to add ten ponies to the 
herd another year, will there be hay enough in your 
present arrangement of fields, or must the three-acre piece 
that piece up there, with a dip in the middle, and a 
rock in the upper edge be put into grass? Will oats 
twice in succession ruin a bit of land? Will your old 
apple-trees die faster, or more slowly, if mercilessly 
pruned? Can you possibly scare up enough organic fer- 
tilizer for the land you want to plow? . . . Shall that old 
stallion who is an awful nuisance, but whom you admire 
and are fond of, die or live ? Would it be safe to breed 
for another year the pony mare who lost her foal ? Shall 
the baby who 's a bit less strong than the others be weaned 
or shall he stay with his mother and imperil next sum- 
mer's colt? . . . Real, real, real! Stone and rocks and 
soil blood and bone and growing things. . . . 

They weigh on you. There seems to be a compartment 
in your mind set apart for their consideration; but that 
does n't prevent the other previously used compartments 
from feeling horribly vacant. The practical compartment 
does n't seem to be biggest; if it were, the others would n't 
bother you so. 



November 15. 

Something must be the matter with Cressy, or with me. 
She jumps so, when I milk her . . . and milking is bad 
enough without that ! As I draw up my low stool, Cressy 
looms above me; I sit down under that hot, hairy, breath- 
ing bulk, with my arm pressed against an ominous hind 
leg, which now and then shifts, very quietly, as if prepar- 
ing for a stupendous kick. A toothache is running up 
both arms, but I manipulate, with what skill is in me, a 
pair of fleshy handfuls, meanwhile gripping between my 
knees a receptacle that seems infinitely wider than the 
accustomed back of a horse. All this is paralyzing enough; 
but in the midst of it to have your animal, absolutely 
without warning, and at intervals as uncertain as the firing 
of an unseen gun, give a great, galvanic start that dis- 
arranges you on your stool, wildly swashes the milk in 
the pail, and sends cold things, succeeded by hot things, 
flying all over you, is dreadful ! Cressy is usually so good. 
So still and cud-chewing and altogether moral. I don't 
understand these leaps. And they frighten me so ! Not 
mentally; just, somehow, physically. For when Cressy 
jumps (right on top of me, it seems) every nerve in me 
jumps, too, as if trying to jump me right off my milking 
stool and out the cow barn door. And while I sit there 
milking hauntedly, almost holding my breath, I feel as if 
I were waiting for a gun to go off. 

As far back as I can remember, that has been one of my 
terrors. If any one even points a gun on the stage, I am 
in misery; sometimes I fly to the refuge of the foyer 
and even there have a wild desire to put my hands over 



my ears ! Years ago, when Bernhardt and Coquelin were 
playing "Cyrano," I lost part of a whole act that wayj I 
could n't bear those soldiers on the stageu . . . Yet I am 
fond of the feel of a gun in my own hands, and only the 
other day seized Babs's rifle, which stands loaded by the 
kitchen door, and shot long and passionately at a squalling 
crow. ... A most inconvenient way to be made! 

One can't, however, run to the foyer when one is milk- 
ing. So I sit and quake. It must be the queer way I 
milk, though three years ago I experimented with Cressy's 
mother and she seemed satisfied with my technique. . . . 
Perhaps I have not sacrificed quite enough finger nail in 
the interests of milk production (and this is one of the 
minor afflictions of the art) for you must have stubby, 
brainless-looking finger nails (which I hate) or of course 

your cow will kick. 

* * * 

Same day. Evening. 

I am very bright. I am so bright I think I must glitter 
in the dark. I have discovered what is the matter with 

She has a sore teat a bramble-scratch; and until to- 
day it had not occurred to me to look for such a thing. 
. . . Amateur asininity! Did I not once deal, for weeks 
and weeks and with anointings and many horrors, with a 
similar ailment in Cressy's mother? She<didn't jump, to 
be sure ; but one might have thought 

Now I know what to do. Even to-night poor Cressy's 
hops have moderated; and one sees light ahead. The 
prospect of a galvanic animal for all winter was hardly 
soothing; and I did want to diagnose those leaps. 



November 18. 

Paradise! I have had Three Men here to-day! A car- 
penter and a plumber and a "general." The boards are on 
the sheep barn roof ; the house is banked, and looks snug 
and comfortable, as if it had its straw muffler round its 
neck at last. Winter windows have been nailed on the 
pony sheds and on the barns, the barn-yard fence is made 
secure, and water-pipes are at least partly mended. Of 
course the plumber could not stay long enough he has to 
go home and milk cows himself, poor man ! to attach the 
faucet and a wee bit of pipe ; so I shall have no water till 
to-morrow. All because of rats. They ate a hole in a 
lead pipe, and, as the lead pipe was under a floor, the floor 
had to be taken up. Drat rats ! 
* * * 

November 19, 

So thankful for the banking and the roof. To-day we 
are smothered in snow. I have put up bars across the 
pasture lane, and the herd of ponies, much discomfited, is 
at last in winter quarters. Unless Indian summer melts 
us later on. And there does n't seem to be room to put 
anybody anywhere, with that threshed straw filling our 
useful cow barn where there are not only cow and calf 
stanchions, but horse stalls and pony boxes and all sorts 
of conveniences. In the lower stable every stall is full, 
and Dolly is tied in the "ditch," a narrow pony stall. Al- 
though she fills it up quite tight, she is so orderly she 
does n't object. Cressy is in my Polly's stall. So an un- 
expected head sticks up. from everywhere horns, too ! It 
makes one quite dizzy. And the amount of hay they seem to 
eat ! I pile the hay alley full, and in a wink it is empty again. 



November 21. 

The pasture lane is now deep in drifts ; the ponies are 
growing gradually resigned to winter quarters. It is won- 
derful to have them actually in to be free of that night- 
mare of an escaping army clattering down the road ! And 
yet. . . . Hay ! One sometimes feels as if life were com- 
posed of it. Our barns are old barns that have been added 
to now and again, so that they are fearfully and wonder- 
fully arranged ; you climb up ladders into one mow, and 
pull and labor; then you go down those ladders and up 
others and into more lofts, and labor again. Animals are 
dotted everywhere the horse stable, the hen-house, the 
sheds; and that makes for prolonged travel at feeding- 
time long portages of forkfuls of hay, winding through 
various sections of stable, and out across the snowy yard. 
Great mountains have to be taken, night and morning, to 
the barn-yard or rearmost sheds, for that is where the 
larger part of the herd lives. I string out the fragrant 
hay it is delightful stuff to carry! in long rows upon 
the snow; the ponies love to be out, and there is more 
room in the open. For fights ! And fight they will, over 
their breakfasts. Fantana pretty Fantana, with her sil- 
very mane and affectionate brown eyes clears a twenty- 
foot space about her before she will take a bite; Ocean 
Wave is a tempest; and Thalma, the little fat black 
mother, has despiteous ears during her entire meal. It 
seems to be chiefly the ladies that fight, the few geldings 
being mild, bashful, and very much in the background. 
Bringing up babies develops intensity apparently; all the 
mothers make awful mouths at each other and a rush for 
any rash gentleman that invades their precincts. 



At night, however, they and their supper are shut in, 
and doors fastened tight against the cold; for out they 
would pop, if allowed, and spend the night on a drift. 
So, after a series of good-night hugs and pats, I leave 
them, with a sweet-scented mountain heaped on the floor, 
and all the heads clustered about it. A pretty sight, in 
the yellow lantern-light; and then lantern and I go 
out under the stars, give a farewell look at the fast- 
freezing water in the trough, and join Boo-boo who 
is always waiting for me on the white path to the 

About three hours each day, I find, are spent on hay 
and its accessories shoveling of barns, carrying of water- 
buckets, and shining up of the coats of such of the dears 
as are to appear in the public eye. The others one does n't 
shine. They roll in the snow and enjoy life! . . . The 
hay I am getting now seems to have been put in in some 
extraordinary fashion that makes it almost impossible to 
root it out. It is very long hay, to begin with, beautiful 
timothy, that almost hid the mowing-machine last sum- 
mer ; and the haymakers must have spent their time wind- 
ing it up in balls, indissolubly connected with other balls, 
and all, moored firmly downward to some unseen source. 
One cannot seem to find any ends or unraveling-places. 
I pull and pry with no results ; selecting a more favorable 
spot, I give a heartfelt heave and the fork comes up with 
about three spears on it ! After a quarter or half an hour 
of this, I peer hopefully down the hay hole into the alley 
and, for all my laborings, there is hardly enough for 
half a stable's breakfast ; and while the day is young, and 
the light good, one wants to put down enough for an entire 
day. (Getting hay by lantern-light is a horrid perform- 



ance ; a sort of green twilight pervades, and shadows are 
ominous also delaying. . . .) 

Meanwhile, the hay smells beautiful. You cannot help 
loving it ; but when your hands are aching (in two pairs 
of gloves a pitchfork handle, in winter, being like a bar 
of ice!), Goliath sitting expectantly below, Boo-boo pur- 
ring round your feet, hungry beasts whinnering, your own 
supper waiting, and the lantern, set on a beam, making 
you very nervous for fear it will fall off into the hay 
then, the process seems intolerably long. 

Perhaps I shall get to an easy place soon. Some hay 
winds up much worse than other kinds. June-grass, being 
short and slippery, is delicious to handle ; but I don't seem 
to come to any June-grass! I wish this windey stuff 
would leave off. Weeds help beautifully; when I arrive 
at a layer with goldenrod or blackberry bushes in it, things 
come apart so graciously that I simply crow. The ponies 
love a few bushes for a change. ... In the pasture our 
old Julia will nip off a thistle top before she even glances 
at grass. And with hay it is the same. They steer for the 
weeds. . . . The mow is still high up toward the barn 
rafters; I can almost look into the swallows' nests plas- 
tered under the beams. White feathers, with which the 
swallows line their nests, are scattered on the hay. Always 
white feathers small, downy ones, the underpinnings of 
Wyandotte hens, of which my nearest neighbor has a 
flock. ' Even so, the swallows must fly half a mile for each 
feather. Wouldn't gray, or black, feathers do as well? 
Or do the parents wish illuminated nests for their young? 
In the nine years during which we have pleasedly inspected 
these abodes, however, the lining has been the same* 
Sweetness and light! 



It is delightful to be up so high, treading on hay- 
where all summer was space, dusty sunbeams, and a flying 
ground for swallows. The view from the tiny window is 
glorious; one looks down into valleys, and across more 
tumultuous mountains, it seems, than from .any other 
window on the farm. ... So pitchfork and I linger. A 
winter moonrise is marvelous, from here a great mellow 
thing sliding up behind snowy fields. ... In late sum- 
mer a fringe of baby swallows sits on this sill, where now 
one 's elbows lean, chittering imploringly as parents skim 
by. Then, when a parent has gleaned sufficiently from 
the evening air and approaches with a beakful, the noise 
redoubles as they stretch up on their baby tails and madly 
flutter little wings, each striving to be fed first; a cun- 
ning drama, that row. Now they are all grown and gone 
to Florida, I suppose. Pitchfork and I have the win- 
dow. Leaning out, I talk to ponies in the yard, who gaze, 
and can never find me. They look everywhere but up ; 
finally abandon search for that miraculous voice coming 
from nowhere. 

But one has not long to spend with one 's head out of 
that hole. There is a wagon-load of straw to be put down 
as well; but straw is nothing all slippery and separated; 
almost able to walk forth of itself, it is so willing ! And a 
pile of it weighs little. So bedding is one of my joys, 
pretty and clean and rustly, and pure gold under the 
lantern-light. Also there is the nice feeling of making 
everybody so warm and comfortable for the night. . . . 
The horses in standing stalls have to move over, and look 
a trifle bored with their beds, but in the boxes one is met 
with deep interest and a bent, snuffling nose. . . . 

Grain, also, is a decorative feature of one's day, with 


charming, arched necks bending to greet you, and low, 
imploring whinners. A grain-whinner is very different 
from a water-whinner or the roar of miscellaneous 
hunger that goes up at one in the morning. There is a 
finesse about it ; a certain specialness that is unmistakable. 
I love my grain-whinners, and the steady, blissful grind- 
ing that follows. 

The barns, when I leave them, are all musical; in 
orderly, affable procession, Boo-boo and Goliath and the 
frothing milk pail and I for I can milk fast enough to 
make froth now ! go very complacently along the snowy 
path into the house. 

* * * 

November 22. 

It is snowing hard ; and a gasolene torch is buzzing in 
the kitchen. This should be a day of peace Sunday ; but 
none of one's Sundays are! The 'snow is thick and 
heavy, and Dolly and I had melodrama getting the'plumber 
up here him and his tools ; frightfully hard pulling. He 
had rashly ventured out in his car, but had to abandon it 
by the roadside. I fear he will have even a worse time 
getting home, the snow is falling so fast. 

This morning, also, three of my good neighbor's boys, 
armed with pitchforks, no matter how many you have on 
the place, a true farmer always brings his own pitchfork 
with him, just as a pianist imports his instrument, there 
being something intensely personal about the hang of a 
fork, came unexpectedly up the lane and, in what seemed 
to my relieved mind about five minutes, hiked that objec- 
tionable straw out of the cow barn into the hay bam, and 
out of the hay barn into the loft. I fancied it would be 



a day's job at least. But they are swift and purposeful 
boys talented with the fork. . . . Deliverance! Now I 
can have Cressy-cow in her proper spot, a horse or two in 
the stalls, pony-babies in their right places, and relieve the 
awful congestion downstairs . . . though it 's been noth- 
ing to what it was one crowded winter the war winter 
when I had seven foals loose, in the aisle, and wherever 
one went one bunted into somebody. That was a fearful 
mental strain for the babies as well as oneself ; but to- 
day how Cressy did march into her stanchion with satis- 
faction in her eye ! A cow loves her very own place. 

Oo ! I am smothered with that torch. All the house 
smells of hot metal; and Boo-boo, after seeking desper- 
ately any other rest for the sole of his foot, has just leaped 
into my lap, papers to the contrary, and, after curling 
himself around six times and economizing his stub as 
much as possible, has camped down on one end of the atlas 
(on which I am writing) and a piece of my arm. Poor 
Boo ! I am in his upholstered chair by the window, near 
the fire ; and, for him, there is no chair but one. . . . 

Superb and Sunshine, two of the new ponies, came by 
express, in neat crates, yesterday luckily just before the 
storm; and Dolly and I led them home. Sunny, however, 
is only a yearling, and stuck his feet in and would n't lead ; 
so, with many qualms, I let him run, and all the long 
miles he followed his mama in rushes, and with many 
lost whinners. He is a very appealing baby fat and 
fuzzy and very tame. I have these two in the hen-house 
now decorated with whitewash, yellow straw, and a yard ; 
it illuminates my solitude greatly to have them there, just 
outside the kitchen windows, where I can see them when 
I 'm making coffee. They seem pleased with their quar- 



ters. Superb is a handsome, queenly creature, bright 
chestnut, with white stockings, a mother of many, but 
young and gallant still. She has a way of throwing up 
her head and gazing magnificently into the distance at 
nothing ! I have run out twice to see what she was staring 
at, and there was n't anything. So I let her stare now. 
I like her immensely. 

It is still snowing steadily. 

* # # 

November 25. 

Brought my dear child home from the station in a 
sleigh. On the way down, the road through the woods 
was lovely untrodden snow, and hemlocks laden deep 
with it. Not a breath of wind was stirring ; the branches 
simply hung so far that one had lapfuls of snow! In 
one place the entire road was filled with hemlock; 
Dolly dived bravely into it, and the great branch 
lifted, dousing me with avalanches of wet snow. At an- 
other turn, an entire birch-tree top was prostrate, its dark- 
red twigs fluffy with snow, and very beautiful; Dolly 
plunged, but I managed to jump out and hold up the 
sleigh, and just got by. Three times I stopped and emp- 
tied a sleighful of wet snow ! 

The next day Thanksgiving was a glittering one of 
purest white snow and blue skies and everybody's tele- 
phone out of order. The Chickadee, a little lady living 
some miles away across the valley, was coming to dinner 
with us. When everything was on the table, gay with 
festal adornment, we threw open the door to look down 
the snowy valley for our guest. There was no sound ; no 
speck crawling on the valley road. We closed the door re- 
luctantly. I adjusted a flower in the centerpiece. 



"Oh, she '11 be along. Hard pulling in this snow, you 
know!" I said; and once more we occupied the door- 

At three o'clock we sat down to an overdone dinner, 
having gone through all the stages of lingering hope. But 
we were frantically worried. Something dreadful must 
have happened! The little lady must be very ill or she 
would at least have sent us word . * . she was all con- 
science ! We raced through our dinner, chucked the bird 
in the pantry, saddled up, and flew. So did the snow. A 
ball from Pud's galloping forefoot took me neatly in the 
eye. At last, as the winter dusk was settling down, the 
Chickadee's lone light shone out across a bare stretch of 
snow. Her little house cuddles under great pines; that 
lone light was very beautiful. Also it sent our hearts up a 
peg. "She 's there, anyway 1" we gasped, and urged our 
horses on. 

A little figure, still in its festal gray crepe gown, stood 
in the door. Eloquent eyes greeted us; the Chickadee's 
eyes are like gray pansies. 

"I 'd been hoping for this !" and before her crackling 
fire we had the awful tale how the old man who is our 
village livery driver had not come for her, how she had 
hoped and hoped till the last minute, when there was no 
way to let us know. She had had dinner with neighbors 
but what time did we sit down to ours? and was it 
completely spoiled? And oh, dear, and oh, dear! . . . 
But we had nuts and cake before the fire, our plowed-up 
feelings gradually calmed, and we rode off quite com- 
placently under the stars. 

Starlight, afterglow, and mountains! All the laden 
trees drooped; even the Chickadee's great pines trailed like 



weeping willows, and the pert spruces up our wooded road 
were scarce recognizable, so lamentable were their poses. 
Also they hung far over the road, their appealing fingers, 
each one with its white burden, reaching out at us ; and all 
the way, with much merriment, we dodged branches and 
neckfuls of snow. Polly is a beautiful dodger ; swerving 
away from pendant branches, in the dark her twistings are 
most unexpected. These roadside twigs were cold and 
wet, and if there is anything my neat Polly despises it is 
wet ears. She shook hers steadily ! Pud is n't so fussy ; 
he forged obliviously along in his accustomed straight line, 
casting away platefuls of snow from each foot, and Lit- 
tle Missis had to do some animated steering. Several 
times we bumped violently into each other, and great was 
our resulting mirth. A joyful ride . . . but when we 
climbed up into the open it was a relief to see Alpha and . 
Omega sticking up really straight against the stars. Things 
had leaned all the way! Once in the dry stable, Polly 
dropped her head with a sigh: "Thank goodness, that's 
Such a pussy-cat of a horse ! 

November 30. 

A dismal day. Babs gone ; and Polly and I had a tragic 
ride fifteen miles over mountains and back to bring home 
a pony I heard was being badly treated. 

"Yank? Say, that boy yanks him something fierce!" 
exclaimed my informant. "He 's too nice a pony to be 
treated thet way!" he added indignantly. . . . 

So early this gray, melancholy morning, I scuttled 
through the chores, turned everybody out into the yard, 



and trotted away. Polly did n't want to go. Like me, she 
has had four days of indulgence and society, and was re- 
belling at traveling alone. Being naturally sensitive, and 
trained to a hair, she made all the motions of doing what 
I wished ; yet we did n't seem to get anywhere ! She took 
plenty of steps but they were about four inches long 
each; she fussed (the road was a little slippery) about 
where was best to set each foot down; she wound, and 
weaved about, and worst of all kept looking behind 
her, sighing! Rather too pointed a hint; and I finally 
gave her an exasperated dig in the ribs. I don't wear 
spurs, but Polly has been trained to them, therefore she 
gives a dreadful grunt and leaps forward if I even make 
a spur-like motion. So now she lunged, and her fore feet 
slipped, and I pulled her up and apologized, and rwe went 
on just as before ! 

It was noon when I rode stealthily through the desired 
village a bald, flat village, so unlike our romantic little 
hamlet. . . . And I was extremely uncomfortable in my 
mind. This family, when they came for the pony, had 
seemed like nice people, fond of animals ; at least they had 
hugged everything on the farm they met, and cooed over 
Elizabeth. . . . Would a person coo, out of mere guile? 
Or walk an extra half-mile in a cold wind, as these people 
did, to see a Shetland baby? . . . One hated to snatch a 
pony away; perhaps they had no idea the boy was ill- 
treating him. Perhaps my informant had a grudge against 
them and was taking it out this way. . . . 

Behind the school-house the children were playing their 
noon games, Jerry's alleged tormentor probably among 
them ; and I stole by, hoping he would not rush out and 
inquire my errand. If only one could have felt sure! 



The school-house once safely passed, I rode quickly on. 
Now for courage, and a keen eye for Jerry's condition ! 

At their barn-door the father greeted me with surprise. 

"You 're ridin' a good ways from home ! Won't ye put 
up your horse and c'm in?" he inquired, with rather un- 
easy hospitality. My heart smote me. 

"No thanks," I said, nervously; "I I've come on a 

rather unpleasant errand " and, with a gulp, I told 

him. The man appeared amazed ; yet as I began speaking 
I noticed a flash of something a queer something go 
across his face, and intuition sounded a warning. 

"Can't imagine what enemies the boy 's got/' he mut- 
tered, "? say such things. . . . But you can look at the 
pony; he's right here." And he opened a door. The 
stable was spotlessly neat ; two work horses stood in their 
stalls, and near them, in a sawdust-bedded box with a low 
door, lay little black and white Jerry, fat and shiny-coated 
as a pony could be. Once more, misgiving seized me. 

"He 's had his carrots !" mourned the man dolorously, 
and unlatched the door of the box. To my surprise, Jerry 
did not look up at us, but lay there quietly on his sawdust 
bed. Strange! for Shetlands are always so alert, and 
greet one with a whinny of pleasure. I spoke to him. He 
did not even turn his head. 

"Jerry dear," I murmured, going in beside him, "won't 
you get up?" 

And then he glanced up at me. I caught a sudden 
breath. Such a lusterless, dead eye ; such a sad, oppressed 
little face! . . . Something bounded wrathfully inside 
me ; and, as the pony at last stood upon his feet, I went 
quietly out and took down his saddle and bridle. 

"I am sorry," I said gently. "You have taken good care 


of him ; but I am afraid I must take him with me." Cinch- 
ing the little saddle, I took the leading-rein and mounted 

"I 'd sure like to know who 's been saying these things/' 
persisted the man. "I don't blame you a bit; but you 
would n't feel like tellin' me, I s'pose " 

"No," I said. "I'm sorry. Good-by." 

We moved off. As I lifted the rein, Jerry started 
nervously; but soon we were trotting briskly along toward 
the village. All was quiet as we passed the school-house ; 
and, with an unconscious setting of the jaw, I rode de- 
liberately by, staring at the windows. That boy ! I knew 
now, as well as if the pony had had speech to tell me, that 
everything was true. My gay, spirited little Jerry, cowed 
to this ! and not until I had ridden several indignant miles 
did I realize that Polly and I were both extremely hungry. 
At a big, hospitable-looking farm-house we turned in, and 
the kind housewife provided a belated dinner for all three. 
We were perfect strangers, but she would take nothing, 
waving us off with smiles and many entreaties to "come 
again!" What generous people one does find in the 
world ! 

'Mile by mile, holding his head higher and higher, little 
Jerry pathetically brightened up. His little feet pattered 
so gaily that Polly, now inspired by companionship, and 
with most cheerful, home-going ears, had to do her best to 
keep up. And Jerry, though slinging his small legs amaz- 
ingly, never broke his manful trot. So, by early milking- 
time, instead of by cold dark as one had expected, a happy 
three hastened up our hills. Jerry was fairly giggling 
now such a changed, eager, anticipating little face, nod- 
ding beside me ! 



"I should know you now, Jerry," I told him ; "I hardly 
did, in that stable!" 

Slipping him into the yard, I watched a moment at the 
gate. The ponies rushed to meet him, and for an instant 
there was tumult; but it soon subsided, "Oh, it's only 
you !" they discovered, sniffing- lengthily at him ; and de- 
cided not to kick him after all. Later, I had to come out 
and visit him by lantern-light ; and what a bright little face 
was put up to greet me ! You can tell so much from a 
face. Especially a pony face. 

* * * 

December 2. 

A delicious, a golden day, though it is raining irrational 
torrents and melting away all our lovely snow; for I have 
at last moved in my typewriter by its winter window, and 
started on a sequel to a story that has just come out in the 
Christmas number of a magazine. I am, and always shall 
be, I think, in a state of astonishment at seeing anything 
of mine come out. It is a never-ending thrill. I want to 
hug that magazine ! My editor is a dear. No doubt he is, 
in reality, a quite awful person ; but, as months go on, our 
correspondence grows more and more jocose. I find it 
hard to write proper, statuesque letters ; before I know it, 
I flop into informality and humor. Is that what has 

thawed an editor? 

* * * 

December 3. 

Last evening I had a heart-to-heart ride with our kero- 
sene can. For days there had been psychology about 
getting that can to the store, every day there being some 
deep reason why it was impossible to take it till finally 
our last drop was gone and a lightless evening confronted 


me. I was, sure trees would be down I could n't take the 
sleigh; and, though we had carried many strange things 
on horseback, we had never tried oil-cans. But of course 
one could ! 

It was raining^- pouring, icing all at once. I wore an 
obliterating black rubber poncho (which at once grew stiff 
and crackly with ice) and rode rustling down into the 
woods, where Polly and I found a big birch down, its 
maze of branches filling the road; this time they were 
heavy with ice. Dismounting, I held some of it up for 
Polly to gp under, which she didn't want to do, but 
snorted and jumped when icy twigs slapped her; the saddle 
caught on a stiff limbj she gave .a wild bound, dragging 
me out with her ; and the branches clanged to again behind 
us, like p, mail-clad door. She fidgeted dreadfully, while 
I mounted, then scurried angrily along to the village. Ice 
on one's ears hurts ! 

Tying her in the shed, I went in to the lighted store. 
The postmaster was busy changing mail, and as I entered 
out of the storm a dozen men and boys were filling the hot 
little room, their faces still creased with pleasant laughter. 
They stared hard at the interruption! Here and there 
talk was renewed, but in subdued murmurs, and I stood 
by the stove steaming embarrassedly under my soggy hat- 
brim, my poncho shining with melting ice, while mail was 
hastily given out and the postmaster dashed by me, down 
cellar for a pound of butter, up-stairs for some obsolete 
article not kept in the store, until oil-can, bread, and 
papers were handed me and I could retire. As Polly and 
I, adjusting our parcels, rode by the steamy window, 
joyful guffaws came to our ears. The blight on masculine 
merriment was removed ! 


Icy rain was still pelting furiously. Where could one 
carry that slopping- full can? If I set it on the pommel, 
we could only proceed at a walk ; if held out by my side it 
nearly pulled my arm off; so, dangling it somewhere down 
by Polly's knees, I bent forward on her neck quite the 
pose of heroines fleeing through flaming forests with arms 
round the neck of a runaway steed ! and let her go. She 
flew. I never in any position rode faster. I thought 
'that horrible can would tear me in two. ... It was pitch- 
dark as it rarely is under the heavens ; mud, snow, and 
water flew about us ; and under me was the wild pounding 
of my horse's feet. I could feel her shoulder muscles 
beating at my chest. Though I made feeble efforts to pull 
her down, she never paused, but flew on and on, up hills, 
down jolting slopes, till round our corner we bolted; I 
knew it only by the quick slant of her, the new beat of icy 
rain in my face. My arm was nearly done, but I man- 
aged, gasping, to change hands on it, which made one's 
balance for a moment very queer, with that wild galloping 

Then all at once we crashed into the icy branches. 
Ducking my face down into a wet mane, I let her go, for 
Polly was by this time out of hand ; she fought and leaped 
and crashed through those mail-clad trees as if cannons 
and fire-crackers were after her. It sounded so! The 
noise was deafening. Branches whacked viciously on my 
poncho. Up our steep hills she tore. I could see nothing 
but a gray and black blur, but . . . the tree ! We were 
coming to it ! It would scrape me off I ... I slid over, 
hooking one knee on the saddle, lowering the can till it 
bumped, but crouching far down beside Polly's neck. A 
fierce, tense, throbbing neck. My weight swung her to 



one side cr-rash ! Icy whips, breaking branches, a cruel 
jam on one shoulder and then only hoofs tearing at ice, 
a horse's wild breathing. . . . We were out. 

Half blinded by rain, I tried to pull myself back into the 
saddle, was making it, inch by inch, when the galloping, 
slowed down, hoofs slid under me and my horse halted, 
quaking, before a black wall. The barn-door! I let the 
can go on a drift, and somehow slid off. . . . 

I am not going down to-night. The road is particularly 
awful ; ice is still on the trees. I went on foot, slipping 
and sliding down the hills, and peered into the woods to 
make sure. I have tried taking Dolly on one of these dark 
trips, and she was worse than Polly; she stumbled so, 
plunging out of the track into the drifts, that I actually 
had to go back for the lantern and dangle it about her feet 
so that she could see ! Even then she fell flat once ; the 
lantern flew wildly up, but did not go out. I was proud 
of that . . . and hauled poor panting Dolly up again. 
Perhaps to-morrow I can try the usually placid Pud. 
Though he is so fresh now that even in his stall he gazes 
wildly at me with a peeled eye. . . . Donlinna, on the con- 
trary, who used to be the shy one, is now so sweet ! She 
does n't peel eyes at me ; she kisses my cheek and rubber- 
noses my hair, and is a perfect darling. 

To-day I 've been "reel smart" ! Written from nine till 
two; and am crowing with joy to be at work again. It 
makes one's days seem far less bounded by Hay. Not 
that I don't enjoy hay, but hay judiciously mixed with 
other things. Also I have been rereading "Vailima Let- 
ters" ; and R. L. S.'s phrase, "it is hard not to drop into 
the farmer," drop, mind you ! runs in my head. Drop? 
One does n't know whether to feel compunctious or in- 



suited over that word. People who enjoy eggs and cream 
tell us farming is a noble career; since the war, especially, 
we have felt quite puffed up over our high-minded selves ! 
But Stevenson has always been a sort of gospel to me ; and 
"drop" does n't sound nice. . . . After this, one's pen 
shall exude marvels daily. . . . 

It is now six o'clock. Everybody is fed and watered 
and bedded and grained and milked, benedictions pro- 
nounced all round, and the piano-lamp presiding gener- 
ously over my fortunes. I feel, somehow, infinitely rich : 
brave letters from my child, plenty to eat in the house, 
plenty of books, plenty of writing surging in my head, and 
all the animals happy. 

That surely is a lot. 

All day it has tried hard to clear up, with a high wind, 
and patches of blue that swiftly went gray and produced 
snow-squalls ; then bursts of sunshine. Altogether a pleas- 
ing day, and variegated; it is also bracingly colder, with a 
north wind that, as I sat milking, bored accurately into 
the side of my head. There are some fine cracks, right 
beside Cressy; for her pet stanchion she positively re- 
fuses to go into any other is close against the pig house 
wall ; and I must have those pig windows closed up. In- 
deed, I need my "general" again; the ponies broke the 
barn-yard fence by the watering-trough this morning and 
all came swarming up the snowy paths to the house. Gli 
drove them back with fury. 

* # # 

December 5. 

This morning I took a little walk in my mind. I needed 
to. Round the corner of Mount Vernon Street, along the 
mud and noise and commerce of Charles Street, not f or- 



getting the colors of shrimp and mackerel in the fish-shop 
window, the glamourless row of English primroses (each 
in an insulting pot) at my little friend the Jew florist's, or 
the groups of belated breakfasters still browsing over their 
newspapers at the Kitchen never without a slight and 
blessed aroma of literariness about them, the antiques, 
including the perennial full-rigged ship, next door. Then 
through the silent peace of the Garden, its boundary tree- 
tops and church-spires; on up the opulent miscellany of 
Boylston Street. At last, rounding Copley Square, the 
only use the majority of citizens ever make of it, I lin- 
gered doubtingly on its sundry corners and finally ran 
to cover in the public library, that refuge of the illit- 
erate. ... * 

That, of course, brought me promptly back here to my 
own book-strewn room, where, without the accompanying 
fragrance of old clothes, I could turn over favorite maga- 
zines. But the air of the room seemed unspeakably 
fresher! I had been to town, and, barring shops, had 
seen all, in a single day, that one usually sees of it. I 
had taken care to spatter the streets liberally with trucks 
and trolleys, had inhaled a just amount of gasolene, 
smoke, and dust; and the expedition seemed to me com- 
plete. With what complacence I could now watch the 
poetry of the falling rain across the woodlands; how 
priceless were mere air, and quiet, and the far horizons 
of my mountain world. 

But sometimes one does need a noise. I think I shall 
have my exiled piano moved in from the living-room. 
I had thought of parrakeets; but I believe a dictated 
noise would be better. There are times when one em- 
phatically does not need a noise ; in fact, I have had to let 



even my dear Gothic clock run down, with its remorseless 
ticking. But parrakeets would be worse. There is an 
intentionalness about them. If you are quiet, they imme- 
diately think you need waking up, and proceed, with awful 
squawkings, to accomplish it. ... Besides, think of the 
luxury of sinking into Beethoven at will. I have been 
bereft of him so long and Brahms (whom I can play 
very little of), and Schubert, and Tschaikovsky and for 
that matter of everybody except my newspaper clipping 
of Pierre Monteux ! My child cut it out and sent it to 
me, after the fresh rapture of a concert. I have it 
propped up on my table, right before me. It is a picture 
of the excellent man conducting, baton raised, left hand 
familiarly out. . . . Must have been taken at a rehearsal, 
for he has on a sack-suit with ingenuous wrinkles* run- 
ning down from where his arm is raised. A conductor's 
dress-coat never seems to wrinkle! But I like the loose 
sack-suit. It smells of work. The whole picture is actual 
and has Monteux's expression, to the life. . . . The 
expression when he 's just going to begin that smooth 
cheek, with a bit of a smile. ... I keep the clipping 
turned back to front, when I 'm not working ; when I sit 
down, I face it about. I take a sort of breath: '"Nowl 
Begin!" And I see that arm come down! 

Then I set to work like ten thousand demons. 

So that is a sort of music. But still I want my piano. 
It i^pld but mellow ; good to andantes. One quite wallows 
in its middle notes. So much of my farm job here is 
practical a mere tapping on the surfaces of things that 
I badly need to wallow in something. 

Of course, there is outdoors. Scenery. Poetry made 
visible. One wallows in that when least expecting it 



when walking, perhaps, sploshily, across one's winter 
barn-yard. There it is! A star, above the snow-laden 
barn roofs; a purple apple-tree leaning over the drifted 
white of the pasture lane ; or a line of many-colored ponies 
munching, against dusky sheds, at their long green wind- 
row of hay. ... I am fearfully indebted, too, to my 
lantern, especially when its chimney is nice and smoky, 
as it usually is. Perhaps I hang it inside the pony shed 
and go back, as I am always going back, for more -hay : 
behold, across the graying yard a golden doorway set 
upon the dusk, and a high square of romantic window, 
dimly orange. A most suggestive window. One expects 
a Roxane, at least, to lean out of it ; and a sound of plain- 
tive lutes approaching. If I leave the lantern inside 
the barn, and navigate the yard a la belle etoile, there 
are scary, illuminated cracks as I return. . . . There is 
something fearfully fascinating about a lighted crack. 
One always wants to peer into it. I do sometimes, well 
as I know my venerable barn. It looks as if there must 
be Somebody in there! . . . Then if I set the same 
benevolent smoky escort on the snow outside the barn's 
fagade, behold instantly a glamourous effect of footlights 
and Drama, somewhere, about to begin. The old gray 
boards, vanishing upward into dusk, are dimly golden. 
The snow is bright with gold. And the mere look of 
the lonely pathway, leading spookily away into darkness, 
sends shivers of 'anticipation down one's spine. . . . 

But the lantern sits calmly by, melting a circle in the 
snow. I pick it up and go bobbing prosaically along to 
the house; yet the vision has been the poetry is stored 
away inside one ; and I set the milk-pail on the sink, and 
take off my barn boots, with a sense of richness ineffable. 



I am extremely happy ! I Ve begun to do something I 
always thought I couldn't, and envied those who could: 
compose on the typewriter. I thought the beastly noise 
would interfere; but (apparently) in the bright lexicon 
of literary labors there is no such word as Noise. . . . 
Hooray! It will save untold time. I have one literary 
friend who sits up in bed with a coffee-cup on one knee 
and dictates her stuff to a paralyzing person sitting op- 
posite with a pencil. That is a pinnacle I shall never 
reach. . . . 

I even have to put Gli out, when he lies and stares at 
me. A typewriter is audience enough. But, as it is, I 
see books. I see them leaping into life. I see an au- 
thor's undreamed millenniums, stretching away, and' I 
almost believe I have earned 'em literary ones, that is; 
for if ever a person has slung hay and milked cows and 
cooked breakfasts and cleaned barns with phrases surg- 
ing in her soul and ideas bursting at her brain, it is 
this person now tapping (when she ought to be getting 
dinner) on the frenzied keys ! 

* * * 

December 6. 

Sunny has the soul of a gentleman. He is only a year 
old; a brown Shetland baby with extra-furry legs and 
(quite) clean silver-white stockings (for a baby!); and 
he resides, with Superb, his mother, in the hen-house be- 
hind the back yard pump. It is a transformed, pony-hen- 
house, now ; its roosts have been taken down, it has been 
whitewashed, and, bedded with yellow straw and with 
its southern windows, makes an ideal detention-camp 
for new-pomers, who can stay there till I find out whether 



they are going to develop temperatures and sluzzly noses 
and have acclimatizing distemper or not. An outdoor 
yard has been fenced in, cornering on the pump; and 
from the kitchen windows I can see brown and chestnut 
things moving, and hay breakfasts going on. I had 
thought I was going to miss hens ; but pony noses more 
than make up. Superb's nose is uncommonly eloquent. 
She comes to the corner of her fence and tells me ex- 
actly what she wants. If it is water, she stands there 
alternately eating reproachful mouthfuls of snow, and 
staring at the kitchen windows. I get the bucket at 
once. Her signals are never misleading : when the bucket 
arrives, she drinks deeply and decisively. Sunny dallies 
and messes with his ; the two friendly noses just fit into 
the pail together, but soon mother emerges with a jerk, 
and the baby has it all to himself. To encourage him, I 
lift and tip the pail ; and that is where Sunny shows him- 
self a true gentleman. Though, clearly, he may not want 
it, and his fore legs are sloped to turn away, he never 
fails to take a complimentary sip or two just to oblige 
a lady; and then splozzles it out fondly upon my coat- 
cuff! He is an affectionate child. 

Yesterday afternoon Polly and I went to visit the 
Chickadee, who lives on a rival hilltop, and loves it as 
much as we do ours. We both boast dreadfully about our 
respective hills ! It had been a warm, gray day ; pur icicles 
a three-foot fringe of them were polished and drip- 
ping; and at every other step Polly slumped grievously 
down into the soft snow. Our road is too little trodden 
this winter ; it needs wood-sleds running over it to pack it 
down. It was a pleasure to see trees upright, and bushes 
back where they belonged ; the hemlocks had a look of re- 



lief. Our little brook was shouting; "a January thaw!" it 
informed me, and roared accordingly, if such a rill can 

At the turn of the valley road, I thought we could trot ; 
whereat we nearly took a double-header, and Polly's nose 
was in the snow ! The slumping continued ; and a slump- 
technique is horrid. "Fox-trot a bit, Polly dear," I said, 
"and I '11 sit tight" ; for what is the use of rising dutifully 
in your stirrups only to have a slump suddenly knock 
you in the diaphragm like a mallet? Even a fox-trot was 
hazardous; and after a dozen tumbles we subsided to a 
resigned walk. Far across the valley we could see the 
Chickadee's light shining at us, and "Oh, Chickadee," I 
sighed, "why are you so far away?" 

But, slump, drip, and all, it was a poetic ride. The 
snowy, winding road, with dim trees brushing into a 
dimmer sky, was just a series of winter etchings with 
the song of the brook thrown in. A star or two strug- 
gled mistily through the clouds ; a gentle rain set in, soon 
becoming a solid rain indeed. The voice of the Kedron 
sounded like a spring freshet. For a while we lost it 
in dense hemlock woods ; but when we came out above, by 
the clearing where in summer a whitethroat always sings, 
that roaring rose to meet us. My riding-clothes were 
soaking; but at the Chickadee's there were stall and 
blanket for a weary horse; a blazing log fire, nice hot 
conversation and cake with butternuts in it, for her rider. 
And, if it hadn't been for Elizabeth, we should have 
made a long afternoon of it. 

Elizabeth is an ass ! She is a darling, of course ; but 
when it rains, and her mother is inside the sheds (with 
her head looking wisely out of a doorway), Elizabeth 



is usually to be found standing firmly out in the drizzle, 
a mass of sopping-wet wool. And rain is not good for 
babies. As Polly and I hastened on our homeward 
miles, therefore, slumping dismally as we went, we had 
a charming vision of Elizabeth, left to her own devices, 
and soaking up as much rain as possible. 

For it was pouring now. Icy water beat into our faces, 
and a beast of a north wind was sweeping down from 
the hills. Jamming my wet-gloved hands into wetter 
pockets, I sat in my saddle with chattering teeth. Im- 
possible to hurry. Polly was falling along, rather than 
walking, losing one leg after another; and when we 
reached the blessed blackness of hemlocks on our final 
pitch it seemed too good. . . . The ice was harder there ; 
Polly stuck in her toes and simply buckled. Loud shouts 
greeted us from the barn-yard. We were two hours late ! 

Dismounting, I did everything on the run: raced 
through the cow barn, where Cressy, peacefully in her 
stanchion, stared at me, tore open the rear door, gave 
a summoning whoop, and everybody (including Elizabeth, 
wet as sop, as I had expected) came rushing in. Also 
some extra ponies, who didn't belong there, and knew 
they did n't belong there, but whom I had the deuce of a 
time getting out again. Then I blanketed such wet people 
as needed it, Donny assuring me, with many solicitous 
touches of a soft nose, that she was entirely perished; 
and ducked out into the rain with hay for the yard 
ponies. A dozen of these must of course, like idiots, stay 
behind where driblets of hay had dropped from the fork, 
and give me a desperate chase to get them in into a 
lovely, dry, golden-lighted house, too, knee-deep with sup- 
per, and a lantern hung on a nail to make it look extra 



cordial. I am not often late, and when I am I try to 
make it up to them. 

Wooden buttons were at last turned on a peaceful 
crowd, all chewing devotedly ; and one gave a sigh of re- 
lief. No ! There were the horses in the lower barn. So 
one got up speed once more. . . . 

More insulted hoo-hoos: everybody still more exceed- 
ingly starving ; so I watered them only they backed away 
from the trough with snorts of disdain ! and bedded, and 
hayed, till all was a rustling, munching silence. 

Limply, I hung the fork on its hook. My wet clothes 
were clinging to me ; my dinner had vanished into a dim- 
mer distance than Sunday dinners usually did. I hurried 
into the house. Eight o'clock ! But the fires were blaz- 
ing, a kettle steamed, and soon, in a house-dress, with a 
delighted and violently purring cat in my lap, I sipped 
hot tea by the hearth and opened my book at the 
mark. . . . 

Thus does one go calling in the country! 

December 8. 

This morning is colder; there was an inch of clear, 
pretty ice on the watering-trough, but I was able to break 
it up with my fork, a mob of eager ponies crowding under 
my elbows as I did so. Usually they don't go near the 
trough in the early morning; but as something was being 
done to it, it became, of course, the center of interest. 
Ponies love processes. Elizabeth was in the front rank, 
her chest pressed fervidly against the wooden wall of the 
trough; and as soon as water welled freely up she sank 
her little nose on an ice-cake with a thud of dramatic 



relief. One had so suffered from thirst ! . . . The lower 
stable seemed chill; Dolly's contralto gurgle of welcome 
was more ardent than usual. Her blanket was wildly 
askew, and, stepping into her box-stall, I tugged it 
straight. "Polly's blanket is always on, silly!" I mut- 
tered crossly; my fingers were numb with cold, and it 
made them ache horribly to pull anything. Dolly, aghast, 
rolled her great eyes at me, then, as if in reply, quickly 
dived her nose into her empty manger. Breakfast was 
the point! and, smiling in spite of aching fingers, I de- 
parted for the hay alley. 

Yesterday, however, was a day wasted on household 
virtue. I wrote not even a paragraph ; I scrubbed every- 
thing in sight. And I went to bed defeated, yet with a 
true female complacence lurking within me at the speck- 
lessness of everything around. . . . 

Cressy is "shrinking on her milk." Can it be that my 
dilettante methods are "drying her up"? She appears 
well nourished; the succeeding generation gambols in 
my ear with unimpaired vitality, but perhaps these cold 
mornings in the yard are not good for her. The ponies 
are so nasty to her ! Only to-day, as I stood helplessly 
watering Kim, I saw her approach the door of the warm- 
est shed, which an idle pony, sniffing at the sill, was bar- 
ricading. Cressy politely waited ; the pony, perceiving her, 
gave a threatening movement of the hips and went on 
importantly sniffing. Cressy, her back hooped with cold, 
retreated a step and waited again. Seeing me, she turned 
her head and murmured "Baw !" disappointedly. Though 
burning to go to her aid, I could only hold on to Kim's 
rope and shout remarks at that unbudging pony; but at 
last I leaped the fence and bore bellowing down upon the 



offender, who melted unobtrusively away. Knowing full 
well that the bellowing was not for her, Cressy stepped 
graciously in. She is used to the noisy methods of 

* * * 

December 10, 

It seems strange that one.can't get through feeding, wa- 
tering, and otherwise starting on the day's affairs fourteen 
ponies, four horses, and one cow not to mention a cat 
and dog before ten in the morning. I rise (with groans) 
about six-thirty, and, with two fires to build, arrive at 
my pitchfork at half-past seven. Then I hurl hay for half 
an hour, and hasten back to the house, where I am greeted 
with a brigade of steaming kettles, and boiling water 
enough to make coffee for a regiment 

But it is perfectly impossible to sit down to a bookless 
meal; so I have a bit of biography on hand, or literary 
letters, to start the day right; and how easy to spend 
an hour in such company ! If only one could bring oneself 
to take a proper, farmer-like fifteen minutes over 'toast 
and egg or emulate a family I know, where the house- 
wife boasts that her children "never think of taking more 
than five minutes to their breakfast 1" 

Full of literary inspiration, I then draw water for 
Superb and Sunny, and rush out to milk the cow. Then 
follows the deliberate business of leading the four horses 
and the pony-stallion, one by one, to the trough; then 
graining; then the persuading into the yard of Donlinna 
and her chum, of Thalma and Elizabeth and the yearlings, 
who shrink from a cold outer world, and of a still 
more reluctant Cressy, who steps down into the yard with 
a chill, majestic mien, and as slowly as if she were going 



to her doom, and who has to be guarded at the watering- 
trough. Panic seizes her at the mere glimpse of a mina- 
tory pony she whirls away from the trough at once; 
and they 're all minatory, confound them, the minute they 
clap an eye on Cressy! Even Bally Beg has a frown 
ready for her; and yesterday she gave an actual yelp of 
terror when Ocean Wave rushed straight at her with a 
mouth wide open and an expression of horrid rage. So 
I chaperon the poor dear; I think she likes it. She re- 
laxes and goops down water wonderfully, and this morn- 
ing she gave a trifle more milk. ... I shall be happy if 
I find it was ponies, and not me, worrying her. 

And so it is nearly ten o'clock when one sits down to 
work. I think enviously of Stevenson, who, at Vailima, 
wrote from six in the morning till ten ! but then he did n j t 
have to get nineteen breakfasts before he had his own. 
In fact, he had his brought to him on a simplifying tray. 
. . . Perhaps one would prefer to be thus magnificent if 
one lived in Samoa; white people who go to the South 
Seas even the ones accidentally stranded on atolls al- 
ways seem to loll and be waited on. And then write books 
about it afterward. . . . But Stevenson did n't .loll ; when 
he was n't writing or weeding or pulling somebody's hair, 
he was making horrible, altruistic trips (usually in hur- 
ricanes) on behalf of natives; and if any one ever de- 
served to loll it was he. Think of his life there in the 
tropics and the fat lives of other people! 

1 : 30 P. M, 

Apropos of all this, I took a great resolve and had a 
bookless lunch. At 12:55 I was boiling an egg; at 



1 : 09, with an insensate appetite, I was boiling another. 
Outrageous ! If I had had a book, I should never have 
dreamed of a second egg. As it was, I devoured every- 
thing visible and gazed for more. And I will not eat 
a lot at noon. ... It is hard enough to make one's day 
count for anything without stultifying oneself with food. 
Books for me, after this! 

Appetite may have had its source (partly) in an unac- 
customed half-hour spent, before lunch, in the shrewd air 
but blessed warm sun of the barn-yard. It was such a 
glorious winter day that I decided to put Kim out with 
the ponies for exercise and fun. I was sure he would do 
them no harm; and he has been shut up ever since the 
deep snow came. So I led him through the upper stable 
and stood by to see the excitement. Into the yard he 
stepped, snuffing; and, with his neck arched, stood per- 
fectly still, taking the temperature, as it were, of the 
staring crowd. (The geldings hate him; the mares tol- 
erate him for about one second, and then rush at him 
with roars of rage. So he knows what to expect!) 

But the excitement was mild. Bally Beg made the 
first overtures. He is barely half Kim's size, but he 
walked up boldly under the tall stallion's nose and stood 
there, cocking up an absurd eye and stamping one small 
fore foot with delightful hate. Then he moved off. 
Kim had merely regarded him benignly. Ocean and her 
brother, two black and white wavelets of wrath, dashed 
at him with terrific ears changed their minds en route 
and faded absently away. . . . On a drift near by, a 
young mare was standing. Kim approached her, was met 
with an irate wiggle of hips, and backed precipitately 
away. At this, Elizabeth, who had been observing things 



with very big eyes, went gaily sassing up to her tall parent. 
Oh! Would he, like a tom-cat, devour her? Because 
she was just a baby ? I moved closer ready to leap. . . . 
Or would he know his own child ? . . . And would Eliza- 
beth have any feelings about him? I stared. . . . Eliza- 
beth at once stretched up her nose, and humorously flicked 
an infantile tail. Father seemed to be a joke rather than 
otherwise! His nose was curved down to hers. Sud- 
denly, opening a pink, gummy little mouth, she stuck out 
her jaw sidewise and began that toothless chewing popu- 
lar with the equine young, while Kim, above, gravely 
scrutinized the process. It was very funny. Neither of 
them dreamed who the other was. Simply, Kim behaved 
like a gentleman, treating his baby visitor with courteous 
seriousness, as babies should be treated. All at once 
the chewing stopped. Elizabeth flicked a joyful tail again 
and danced light-heartedly off. 

Then lovely Donlinna, wheeling from a fence where she 
was gnawing bark, came swiftly over. Donlinna adores 
a row. Ears laid back, tail magnificently extended, she 
circled about the embarrassed stallion, with a slight toss 
of her head, the flick of a monitory foretop, that said, 
"Young man, look out!" With the most timid coyness 
Kim ventured to sniff of her inciting nose that pretty 
little pointed nose, shading from chestnut to silver-gold 
when, lo ! there were the lady's heels where her head had 
been; and Kim turned away in despair. 

Nobody loved him; and he strolled sadly toward the 
sheds, deeply sniffing the path as he went. 

But across that path stood a friend Errands, the three- 
year-old. She had adored him patiently all the autumn; 
had had thrilled interviews daily in the mowing, around 



the stake where he was tied ; and "Here he comes, oh, my 
gracious I" said little Errands, in a palpitation, swinging 
to him with eyes like expectant shoe-buttons. . . . Alas, 
how often does devotion go unrequited! 

"You bore me, my dear/' said the gentleman briefly; 
and brushed so unceremoniously past that he took a por- 
tion of her tail with him. 

Errands stared in unbelief : "He could n't have meant 
it!" and placed herself imploringly in his way as he 
strolled back, in his lordly fashion, from the sheds. 

This time, however, he did notice her. He bent his 
peerless head. "Move, minion!" he snorted; then saun- 
tered witheringly by and drove his nose deep into the 
trough. . . . 

There was apparently nothing more to watch. A mild 
circling was noticeable; Kim's presence will be a sort 
of beneficial spoon, I think, and stir them gently round. 
They doze too much. ... But I shall be on the alert. 
A stallion loose means that one may hear a scream at any 

* * * 

December n. 

Letters about the last essay are coming in. It is so 
nice of people to write! I never wrote to an author; 
one feels as if it couldn't matter to them what people 
think, but it does. It tremendously does. ... I ha:d a 
letter to-day from an official of the United States Steel 
Corporation writing sympathetically about a yellow cat ! 
and one from an Englishwoman who is raising pussies 
in Australia. She described one of hers at length. It 
is rather far to realize a cat from here to Australia ; but 
I tried to. . - . 



Gli is hideously bored. I was to have gone to the vil- 
lage his favorite trip and rashly told him so. He 
kissed both my hands in joy; but it drizzled, and I did 
not go. The poor chap is in despair. First he yawned 
grievously, with that up-curl of the lip that means ennui, 
not sleepiness ; then he made a series of pretty-bows at 
my feet. Later, it was really very touching, he came 
up to me, swallowing nervously, and looking very hand- 
some and bashful; gazed into my face, then out of the 
window, and back into my eyes again, with the most 
definite and ingratiating appeal enough to make one get 
up and go, whether or no! But I could only pat him 
remorsefully and explain it was "too wet." So he flopped 
down with a despairing sigh. 

Boo has settled in my lap as I write and is having the 
finest face-wash of the season. I just asked him if he 
wasn't. He stopped, holding one paw in air, stared 
fixedly at me, then deliberately winked one lemon-colored 

It is well for me, in this solitary life, that I have this 
responsible pair, a systematic cat and dog, to regulate my 
proceedings; I am used to a systematic daughter; but 
now Gli and Boo-boo seem trying to take her place. I 
came in to-night after chores and sank into a chair. I 
do not usually do that, but continue to bustle about 
getting tea. So, after a moment, as, with a very guilty 
sensation, I was taking the wrappers off a new magazine, 
I felt a touch on my knee, an3 there was Goliath's golden 
head. It leaned against me ; a long nose was laid on my 
lap, and eloquent eyes were searching mine. 

"Oh, dear, Goliath!" I said peevishly. "What is it? 
Want 'Missis to get up?" 



He gave a little jump. 'That's it!" he said joyously; 
so, knowing he was in the right about it, I laid down my 
seductive papers and arose. Approving golden eyes fol- 
lowed me; assured that everything was as it should be, 
the dog lay down on his rug again, with a sigh of con- 
tent. I had fancied he might have been begging for an 
extra supper-time bite ; but there appeared to be nothing 
whatever personal in this appeal. Nothing for his own 
benefit. By some mysterious dog psychology, he knew 
his mistress should n't have been sitting there at that hour, 
and it made him uneasy. He has been sound asleep ever 
since. . . . 

At ten o'clock I shall have another reminder. Rousing, 
he comes over to my chair, and, with untold pretty-bows 
and waggings, tells me it is bedtime. As before, there is 
"nothing in it" for him; he stays in that same spot all 
night; not the slightest reason for his bestirring himself, 
except that somewhere, deep in his doggy mind, he feels 
his Missis ought to go to bed. ... It is really funny. 
Being sent to bed by a dog! One thinks of Nona, in 
"Peter Pan," efficiently tucking the children in their cribs. 
. . . And the still funnier thing is that I usually go! 
If I don't, I fall asleep in my chair, the lamp goes out, 
and I wake, cursing, at 2 A. M. ... 
Even Boo-boo (who jumped up on my pile of manu- 
script just now) was "after something" he felt ought to 
be done. He patted the typewriter a bit, to be sure ; but 
what he got up there for was to attract my attention. It 
was the time, forsooth, when his Majesty goes out for 
the evening! Presently, therefore, he jumped down, 
"Blop!" murmured, "Pr-oo!" twitched his stub a few 
times, and, casting come-hither glances over his shoulder, 


walked to the door. I obediently opened it, of course. 
If you respond to an animal's communications, it under- 
stands, and tells you, more and more. Boo now follows 
almost any line of simple reasoning. He inspects any- 
thing I show him, glancing up at me with-obvious idea^-in 
his eyes ; he agrees with me in graphic little murmurs, as 
we look out the door together of a morning, about the 
weather ; and, as for discussing which barn he wants to go 
to for hunting purposes, he does that with the greatest- 
clearness, all the way out the path ! 

Yesterday afternoon was so radiant that I took a sud- 
den resolution; putting on with a sense of unbelievable 
frivolity, a corduroy sports-coat, moccasins, and gay plaid 
socks, I started off for the High Knoll on snow-shoes! 
I so longed to do something merely because it was beauti- 
ful or amusing not useful. (Heartbreaking to go alone 
with Somebody who so loves snow and mountains 
grinding away in a beastly town; but I could at least 
make a dog happy, and we went.) Goliath gamboled 
around me in incredulous joy ; and the ponies cocked their 
heads and stared at us. 

It was more eventful snow-shoeing than usual. A light 
snow had fallen on the shining crust and been blown 
away in streaks and curls, making a moire pattern over 
the swelling fields; the shiny streaks in the moire were 
golden, the dull ones a gray-blue. Those golden places 
were slippery ; and Goliath, after clutching at them, fol- 
lowed meekly in his Missis's footsteps. When we neared 
the pasture fence, however, where small creatures had 
wandered in and out, leaving thrilling little tracks be- 
hind them, he threw caution to the winds and dashed 
about, alight with the pursuer's zeal. But footprints were 



all he found ; sunset, in this winter world, meant bedtime 
for small furry people. Not even a flick of a furtive 
tail greeted us. 

On the high slopes, brown flower-heads stood out above 
the snow, and we saw the tracks of a thrifty field-mouse. 
From one clump to another he had gone, nibbling the 
infinitesimal seeds, scattering a circle of brown powder, 
looping on across the hillside to other harvests brown 
goldenrod, or here and there a wide-open eye of everlast- 
ing, with its yellow heart, its petals now dingy cream- 
gray against the snow. In summer, one remembered how 
white the everlasting showed, in horrid sheets on our 
pasture turf ; now it lay but smuttily upon the drifts. . . . 
The goldenrod, however, had gained in grace and signifi- 
cance; the drawing of its fawn-brown sprays was rarer 
than any autumn brilliance. Winter coloring always 
brings one up with a gasp. Galleries of woodcuts and 
winter etchings only they 're better than anybody's etch- 
ings! and the air, the wonderful, sparkling air, not 
found in galleries, brings wine into one's soul. . . . 

I wondered if my field-mouse had had wine in his 
soul. His little tracks looked so gay. How could any 
field-mouse make, without enjoying them, such pretty 
curves and loopings through His winter gardens? . . . 
Orchards, rather like trees above his head, they were. 
He would have to be a tall field-mouse to reach some 
of the clumps, and I could fancy a baffled little being, 
with the silkiest white shirt-front and great soft brown 
eyes, squatted on tiny haunches, staring wistfully up. . . . 

It grew inconveniently shining on the 'upper slopes, and 
only a clutch at Gli's ruff saved me from slipping back- 
ward. Our two attaining shapes stood out for a world 



of valleys to see ; and Cressy had the bad taste to bellow 
at us. "Baw-aww !" she mourned, a barn-yard plaint that 
shot us from our airy height and landed us in the world 
of practical needs. "Shut up!" I muttered. "I won't 
be bawled at on a mountain 1" 

Everywhere was glory, and sky behaving as sky does 
in winter sunsets. Northward, tinted clouds above a blue 
and white world; in the west, gold sky and dark-blue 
mountains. Later, a rose-color crept between those 
mountains, washing woodlands crimson and snow-fields 
pink, and painting a bold purple on the spruces; then 
darkening to a smudge of fire behind the woods. 

From the opposite brow Ascutney's noble bulk again 
confronted us, all clear except for one wisp of cloud laid, 
like a hand, familiarly on a shoulder. I quite expected 
him to shrug that majestic shoulder and say in a haughty 
mountain voice, "Remove it, please!" It was a pretty, 
trailing bit of cloud, rosy-pink; but for weeks he had 
been so rested on by clouds, by extinguishing masses of 
them, all reclining, rolling, -smothering about him, that 
I fancied he might be glad of a free breath once more. 
Even as I looked, the hand removed itself trailing away 
into a rosy east, and far and near Ascutney scrutinized 
his valleys. From his summit we had often looked across 
and seen our own knoll a mere brown button on the 
rough jacket of the world, but a precious and most per- 
sonal button; so now, from the button's verge, I stared 
back across the exquisite gradations of the winter patch- 
work, seeking the outcropping of bold rock on which our 
supper-fire is always built. There it was ! a pearl-white 
blot ; and I smiled at it an intimate smile. Such a grand 
place to throw things down from and hear them crash- 



ing into space ! We once scaled a whole box of ginger- 
snaps, sublimely, one by one, into the void. And even 
sugar, emptied into tree-tops you can hear it a long time, 
rattling. . . . 

As we came in sight on the top of the hill, once more 
a muffled moo met us ; Cressy, vox barnyardis! Far be- 
low, my bunch of tiny white roofs clustered in a smudge 
of trees : sixteen little quaint shapes, all ends and gables. 
Down there, my responsibilities were even more than my 
roofs, I reflected, with a sigh. . . . Nineteen live furry 
responsibilties were now busy in that yard, I knew, 
gnawing the edges off the fences or gouging semicircles 
in the pig house window-sills. Other responsibilities, 
too young for window-sills, spend their time on the cor- 
ners of buildings, whose timbers dwindle before one's 
eyes; some day I expect to see my venerable structures 
tumbling into the yard. In summer a Shetland nibbles 
endlessly, getting his dinner spear by spear; so the con- 
centrated meals of winter-time leave him with a sad sense 
of something lacking. Besides, he is bored. Hence the 
semicircles; the scallops on fence and gate. The other 
day I added such a pleasant new yellow board to the 
fence by the trough; yesterday there was little of it left 
but scallops. Splinters must be a sort of pony gum. . . . 
Even Elizabeth leaves her breakfast, walks gravely over 
to s<jme bit of selected wood, and begins to gnaw. I 
wish she would find some other expression of her young 
energies. It was she that did the scallops in the new 
board. . . . 

Even now, as Goliath and I slid hastily down the 
slopes, the breeze brought us a faint sound, as of a distant 
rat, a huge and mystic rat, gnawing, maybe, at the 



horizon ! ... In a deep hollow we lost it, and I was glad. 
I didn't want to think of barn-yard there, for that 
hollow held all the gold there was in the world ! Snow- 
fields escorted it to our feet. Black woods and hem- 
locks parted it from the bright gold of the sky; and 
above the woods hung a great silver star. . . . What a 
thing to paint ! If only thumbs did n't freeze, outdoors. 
I nearly left a thumb on a dune, once. . . . 

The children were so astonished to see us; they had 
heard our crunchings, and all the heads were turned up 
and staring. Missis, gliding, descending from the sky; 
apparet dea! And they crowded by the wall. By the 
shed, however, stood three motionless ponies, perfectly 
graded in size. As I crunched into sight, they turned, 
as by a string, their three heads ; then Elizabeth looked 
back at Thalma, and Thalma at Kindness, as if to say, 
"Did you ever ?" after which all three turned their heads 
to stare at me again. A delicious performance. One 
could just see the gossip passing along! and I slipped 
quickly behind the raspberry-bushes. . . . The little imps 
were commenting, I knew, on some faded, lemon-colored 
riding-breeches they had n't seen before. . . . Gli notices 
clothes; he is rejoiced at boots, which mean going out, 
and dejected at slippers, which don't ; so why should not 
my uncanny ponies, who always know more than is quite 
convenient, have an eye for their Missis' strange garb? 

December 12. 

Aha! I have defeated Superb and Sunny; defeated 
them with a tenpenny nail. They got out again yester- 
day; Polly jumped as we came round the corner at dusk 



and saw a Dark Form in the path! It was only Sunny, 
chewing apple-tree brush at the pile behind the wood- 
shed my pile, which I was to have removed; but we 
gazed at him with displeasure it was a sight too remi- 
niscent of autumn. So this morning I took a hatchet 
and mended the spot with venom, but with only one nail. 
Of "eights" there seemed to be plenty but only one 
"ten." Handling it like a pearl, I pounded it painfully 
in; for a miracle, it went straight. After inspecting 
somewhat dubiously its solitary hold, I retreated within 
the house to watch. 

When morning hay was done and the transient enter- 
tainments of the yard failed them, behold (as I knew 
would happen) a pair of bored ponies at the fence. First 
one pushed, then the other; then they both lay to and 
heaved, but with no result. Pausing, they stared at each 
other. Superb's ears suddenly went back; with an irri- 
tated nip at her son, she shoved him out of the way. 
"Let me try, stupid !" She laid her strong chest against 
the rail. "Now it will go !" I muttered. But it did n't. 
That heroic tenpenny held fast; and after many trials 
poor Superb, in exasperation, turned upon her beloved 
son and bit and shoved and hustled him till he, losing 
his temper in turn, shoved and hustled and bit back with 
interest; and then, with sourest glances at each other, 
they stalked morosely into their house. Poor dears! 
Such a human little comedy; and a small thing to be 
exultant over, but they have defeated me so often ! 

I have had an idea. Cressy gives such an absurd little 
bit of milk at night that it occurred to me, against all 
conventions of the dairy, to milk her only once a day. 
It is altogether lovely. She gives no less but all at 



once ! and her serenity has, if anything, increased. I am 
sure she approves the system. At any rate she has never 
stared^ with greater bliss of absorption, at that fascinating 
timber, about six inches away from her vision, which 
seems at milking-time to occupy her entire soul; and 
though she may sidestep slightly at some mistake of 
mine she no longer gives those awful galvanic starts. 
And she has marvelous cuds. One after another, I watch 
them rippling up her neck. . . . Milking twice a day was 
a bore ; doing it once a joy. Yes, I have really come to 
like it; to sit serenely back on the stool, trilling produc- 
tively into the pail yet thinking of all sorts of irrelevant 
things. I even ponder words dear, delicious, irreplace- 
able words; sometimes such jolly words that I can only 
long, as I sit anchored there, to write them down on the 
nice, clean, literary-looking patch of white that Cressy 
holds before me on her flank. . . . 

This morning, by some unexplained twist, a stream 
of milk clung to my left hand and ran, with unpleasant 
agility, inside my cuff. I had always thought milk warm ; 
but this was hot, and made one think of blood. It made 
ihe think, too, as I dried my sleeve with a hasty handker- 
chief, of the farmers who sit down to milk without wash- 
ing their hands ; having been, the instant before, without 
doubt virtuously cleaning the cow stable ! . . . Some men 
even say they cannot milk "without milk on their hands," 
and I saw the other day an advertisement for "a dry 
milker"! Oof! 

* # # 


The snow is going pink upon the hills. Gli is hinting 
for a snow-shoe tramp; but I am tired from yesterday. 



Seven miles on horseback in floundery snow, with a pack 
of heavy books under one arm fiction, mostly, but it 
weighed! and seven back again, with more books, and 
a gory beefsteak in one pocket. Saddle-bags might have 
been an idea; but I am sure they disturb Rp's balance. 
The deep soft snow is hard enough for her. But she 
went like an angel. We kept meeting the snow-plows and 
had to swing out into drifts to get by ; but, though I felt 
her quake beneath me, she kept calm and steady and did 
not plunge. 

The pink is sliding so beautifully up the snowy hills. 
I hate to lose it. The woodlands are red-brown, tipped 
with gold. Though there is such a glory of rich light, 
there is a pastel softness in the distances; shadows are 
pale and delicate, the woods misty. A pearl of an after- 
noon. I '11 go out into it ! 

* * # 


As usual, I can't be glad enough I went. The new 
snow had spoiled my lovely moire, but made cushioned 
snow-shoeing, in which Goliath gamboled rapturously. 
New snow always rouses a dog's sense of humor! . . . 
In the lane, Donlinna scrambled to see the last of us, but 
we made hastily away over the dip and fall of the 
mowings, to the fringe of trees along the pasture edge, 
and then a straightaway to the knoll. We were in haste; 
color was getting away from us so fast. Funny, to be 
chasing a vagrant sunset. The last rosy rays were slid- 
ing up the mountains ; we could not climb fast enough to 
be in them, but it was lovely to be getting up into more 
light all the time. Reversing the day. . . . Color lay in 



oddly geographical sections: gold in the west, apricot in 
the south, to the east a misty rose. A mistiness, too, lay 
over purples and blues. . . . "Chinese white, my dear/' 
I said, instinctively shutting one eye; "a thin wash, and 
be quick about it!" . . . For my hands felt suddenly 
empty. One misses one's early job. Fingers get habits 
have memories of their own. So I stood there, absurdly 

My field-mouse had made a set of brand-new tracks; 
here and there they etched themselves, following the 
brown flowers. It seemed as if uncommon spirits had 
seized their little maker, for sometimes he had leaped a 
yard, the festive mite! There was no other track pur- 
suing; the leaps must have been mere joy. At one spot 
on the summit of the knoll, a row of small frozen humps 
were elevated above the crust magnificent memorial of 
the little fellow's wanderings before the storm. He, and 
he alone, had trodden down the new, wet snow ; around 
those important footmarks the winds had shorn away the 
looser drift, the cold had frozen them, and lo, as monu- 
ments to his activity, these icy, field-mouse eminences! 
looking so oddly permanent and prehistoric on the big 
brow of that knoll. 

Glancing up, one was dazzled by the western gold. . . . 
A howk beside me ; and there was Gli with his stick of 
the day before, all tooth-marks. He placed it carefully 
on one of my snow-shoes, then backed away with shining 
eyes. As I flung it down a slope his cries of rapture 
batted among the mountains; I doubt if dog was ever 
heard so far. Not only mad barking near by, but a 
frantic dog echo bounding in the woods below. 

From the north a great roll of mist, a thick, round 



mass, was coming ; its finger stretched away up the valley ; 
and suddenly, far in the gray-blue distance, grew a fiery 
lake! A long, rose-colored mirage, winding among 
mountains ... a sunset beam must have fallen on the 
stream of mist. 

Laughing, tumbling, we made hasty way downward. A 
lone clump of brown goldenrod had its tufted heads 
fringed with white frost-crystals, hanging shaggily; each 
seed-vessel had flowered into a silver frost-chrysanthe- 
mum! It was only on this one, erect clump that these 
assistant blooms were in perfection; the more drooping 
ones were quite bereft of crystals, their fringes having 
been shaken off by our small nibbler, and their brown 
petals lying thick upon the snow. . . . Frost-chrysanthe- 
mums did not appeal to Goliath; but, oh! his feverish 
interest in the mouse ! Together, we tracked him to the 
crevices of a big rock a lovely rock, with slices of rose- 
quartz showing; and after digging and digging in the in- 
terfering snow, Goliath snuffed his heart out at those 
odorous cracks. 

Gray veils were dropping now ; only behind the woods 
a little gold was shining; the ghost of our evening 
star, and also the threadiest thread of a new moon, not 
silver yet, but a gleaming buff. Why is it that the first 
young dimnesses of anything are so enchanting? I tried 
to show the collie that new moon, but he could n't see it 
I must get "moon" into his vocabulary, somehow. 
* * * 

December 13. 

This morning being very warm, and I in a gay mood, 
I was warbling out of our bath-room window which is 
a dear little casement, unnecessarily romantic that highly 



historic and respectable ballad, "Charlie Is My Darling," 
for the benefit of Superb and Sunny in the hen-yard be- 
low. I thought they looked bored. At first, they stared 
up in horror; then, at the third "darling/' what was my 
amusement to see Superb back suddenly down upon her 
child, and gently but firmly kick him within the house! 
After which she herself came quickly out and gazed 
greedily for more ! Did she consider my beautiful song 
unfit for the ears of youth? or was it monopoly she was 
after? At any rate, in the sheltering house Sunny had 
to stay while mother, leaning over the fence, absorbed the 
whole tale. 

# * * 


A most pictorial fracas, this morning, getting Cressy 
out of the barn. Driblets of hay were scattered outside 
the rear door, where in my haste it was raining streams 
I had dropped them; so, all the while I was milking, 
sounds of squabbling came in through the cracks. The 
ponies in the yard had just finished their breakfast; but 
that didn't prevent them from competing desperately 
over those driblets. There would come a rush, a scurry, 
and the sound of defeated feet going off in the distance. 
I knew so well how the disappointed ones looked, stand- 
ing drooping in the rain ; so when I rose and hung up the 
pail, I took down a fork and opened the door. Sure 
enough, there they were in a row, entirely blocking up 
Cressy's path; my dear Donlinna, just then, was in pos- 
session of the fragments. She flung up her head, chew- 
ing, and eyed me with a thrilled and rapturous eye. 

"Yes! darling," I murmured. "Marvelous to discover 
a spear to eat, is n't it ? Run along, all of you. Shoo !" 



And I flourished the fork. Donlinna, with a curvet, van- 
ished obediently round the corner of the pig house; but 
the ring of pony candidates pressed closer. 

"Oo ! she 's going to let us in ! ... Oo-oo ! ! she 's left 
the door open a crack !" 

"Go away, pests I" I cried, again beating the air with 
my fork; but noses advanced on me from every side. 
So I went in. "I '11 make a way for you, Cressy, old 
girl," I muttered, unfastening her; "just you keep up 
your courage; that's all!" so she swung round, and I 
opened the door with a yell. Alas ! Donlinna was back 
in her place again, and behind her a maddening surge of 
candidates. Cressy, filling the narrow doorway in front 
of me, was striving desperately to retreat; so all I could 
do was lay my shoulder against her flank, and push, and 
yell; and, just as I thought (I had never tried to push 
a cow before!) that she was coming back in spite of me, 
to my amazement she gave a mighty lunge and leap, clove 
those candidates asunder, and made for the watering- 
trough with a stout bellow of wrath. Good for Cressy! 
She drank with unusual earnestness; after which she 
stalked off, nodding a dripping but determined nose, and 
took up her stand in the shed. The very best and most 
coveted shed, too; and in its doorway her two crescents 
of horns stood militantly out. She had evidently made up 
her mind to be bullied no longer. 

A sou'easter is sweeping against the windows; I can 
imagine, along our bit of sandy shore at Cotuit (which 
we deeply love), how the surf is raging. I wish I were 
there to see and hear it. ... Ascutney is banked deep 
in heavy clouds; and across our white valley the nearer 
hills dodge in and out of the mists. I do love to watch 



a flying mist ! The rain has a slatting sound. The very 
fury of it is inspiriting. Our telephone is out of order, 
as usual ; but at its last gasp this noon the express office 
notified me that there are two ponies waiting down there 
in crates, poor dears. They will have to be taken to a 
stable, and Dolly and I will go down for them to-morrow. 
Roads will be fearful. After this rain, imagine the soft- 
ness and the slumps ! 


The rain has stopped. I have just been to look out 
at the mountains, and there was a misty star struggling 
through clouds. The clouds were rushing. The wind 
smells like clearing, too ; and, oh, the sound of the brooks ! 
Little and big, they are all roaring ; bound, in a fury, for 
the sea. 

December 15. 

Up early, this morning; a clear dawn sky, and a glow 
of burnt-orange behind the woods; the hills deeply blue, 
and a breathless calm on the snow-fields. The sun was 
beautifully slow about rising. Pitchfork in hand, I 
dodged in and out of the various barns, dashing to doors, 
horribly afraid of losing anything; but the glow bright- 
ened deliberately, as did the blue overhead; and soon a 
mass of cloud above the western woods began to take 
on rose-color and change its grays into purples. The 
high, snowy slopes, the crimsoning woods, and this sailing 
wonder! I dashed up the mowing lane so fast to see it 
that Goliath, much excited, dashed with me. He thought 



it was invasions of some sort, to make his Missis rush in 
that strange direction before breakfast! And the crust 
let us both woefully through. But up there in the white 
mowings I could see snow-laden roofs, the two smokes 
blowing, the tall balsam pointing to heaven; and to the 
east blue Pisgah, a round, snow-topped hill, had all the 
glory behind him, and was guarding the coming of the 
sun. The great cloud above the woods was now brilliant 
rose, and streamed slowly southward, lighting the snowy 
hills beneath it. 

And still Pisgah hid the sun! and grew brighter blue 
every moment, till, pop! and the edge of a bright thing 
shot up. Soon, a molten ball, it stood on Pisgah 's profile; 
a pink light stole across the fields, and crept into the 
woods among the tree trunks, where blue shadow-trees at 
once appeared. 

The high knoll, too, was brilliant pink as pink as any 
Alp! Goliath tried hard to find the sun; he looked and 
looked up into a wild-cherry-tree, down the lane, into 
the rocky barn-yard itself, for what his mistress was in- 
citing him to see. His nose worked, but he could n't find 
it. If it had only been a chipmunk in the depths of the 
wall, now; but that bright thing! One took that for 

Leaving the sun to take care of himself, Goliath and 
I careered indoors. It is so jolly of those tea-kettles 
to be boiling when one comes in ! The columns of steam 
from their two noses look so prosperous and gay, the 
sound is fraught with so many cheerful possibilities. 
Soon a most ineffable coffee smell was about, the single, 
stately egg of the morning gravely bounding in the ket- 
tle, and, by the fiery door of the chunk-stove in the dining- 


room, I was speedily making toast. A slice of bread, pre- 
sented to that doorway of beautiful color, had no long 
doubts about what color it would turn; and glorious, 
swift, wood-fire toast it was. Then the pan with its 
crust of cream came out from the pantry, and the clotted 
yellowness was transferred to a squat Doulton jug, itself 
of a creamy color, with bouquets of little flowers; and 
one sat down, with the fire at one's back, before a center- 
piece of hemlock tips with tiny cones dangling, to break- 

It was hard to eat quickly, and dash out again; but I 
did in spite of Stevenson at my elbow. Perhaps because 
of him. For I had to get everybody ready for town 
that is, ready to be left so that 7 could go to town ! and 
finally scrub and array my Polly for the trip. 

Roads were slippery, and so we went slowly, with time 
to watch cloud masses behind hemlock-crowned hills, and 
to revel in the rushing of the Kedron. It had the look 
of a glacial stream, pale blue-green and very clear ; and it 
gathered in pools, and hurried away in riotous rapids, 
and dived darkly beneath overhanging spruces, filling the 
valley with sound. . . . After disentangling the new 
ponies from their crates, I was glad to be back beside its 
music again, leading the older pony, and letting the baby 
navigate for herself. She is a real baby only four 
months old; she plunged abjectly into drifts if we met 
a team, then came galloping after us with pathetic hoo- 
hoos. Such a cunning, little baby gallop! They were 
glad to climb our hill and see barns, and smell hayey 
smells, and be greeted with loud shouts by Superb and 
Sunny, from whom they 'd only been parted a few weeks. 



December 16. 

Boo-boo is getting uncanny. He has always been a 
beggar at meals ; but he has acquired a new system. After 
ordinary blandishments have failed, planting elbows in 
one's lap, jogging one's arm with an affectionate nose- 
rub, or clutching the table with an imploring white ball 
of a fist, he turns away with a twitch of his stub and 
makes for the hall door. There he sits down, his fat back 
turned, looking earnestly up the stairs ; and unless I in- 
stantly call him back, he remarks "Pr-oo?" and scoots 
up-stairs, well knowing that any reward in reason will 
be offered him if he will only come down and be a so- 
ciable pest again. If this device fails, what does the imp 
do but come bumping down-stairs again, walk over to a 
bit of wall-paper by the sideboard and, stretching his 
paws up it, prepare to have a glorious claw-sharpening! 
This never fails to "bring down the house" ; with shrieks 
and promises, he is recalled ; and with what grace he then 
lets himself down, coming benignly over to be fed, and 
hugged, and petted, for his sins ! 

The new ponies are having a hard time of it with my 
beloved savages in the barn-yard. I was so sorry for 
them last night that I invited them into the cow barn to 
have supper. Queen was to have come in, anyway, to eat 
grain with Elizabeth; but after I had hayed the hustling 
yard ponies, and led Lassie over to the door of their 
house to join them, she hesitated so pitifully on the 
threshold, visualizing the awful things in store for her, 
that I led her away again. She and Queenie are so 
modest and untried among my frowning veterans, that I 
hate to have this pleasant bloom brushed from them. 



So I left her and Queen to have a peaceful night to- 
gether, munching their united hay out of a cow stanchion. 
Thalma, the belligerent, was safely tied in the calf stalls 
beyond; and blithe Elizabeth careered where she would. 
If she wandered out of sight around a partition, Thalma 
was perfectly serene a different temperament from poor 
Superb's, who nearly knocked the stable down the night 
I tried the same arrangement with her and Sunny, bel- 
lowing, beating the wall with her feet. I have been won- 
dering which sort, in the end, makes the better mother. 
I don't believe, myself, in the invariable efficacy of the 
worrying parent ! 

* * * 


I am still putting off my pig. Still casting skim-milk 
upon the snow. It is a fearful sin. Every time I see it 
go "swash" into a drift, and the drippings, so yellow and 
edible-looking, run guiltily down, I think of all the busi- 
ness men's lunches I am wickedly throwing away; for 
have we not all read how a raisin sandwich, aided by one 
glass of skim-milk, makes an ideal lunch for the brain- 
worker? . . . And as to how many glassfuls my drifts 
by this time contain, I should prefer not to think, when 
what they get is pailfuls ! 

But what is one to do? My neighbors have all the 
"skim" they can use ; Ocean Wave drinks a panful every 
day; and, as for Goliath, he now backs swiftly away at 
the mere offer of a drink of milk. Nothing for it but the 
drifts 1 Unless I can make up my mind to one more ani- 
mal, and acquire that dreaded pig. Not that I don't 
esteem pigs as one esteems the little understood ; and I 
have had one pig, Belinda, of whom I grew very fond. 



She was what the hired man called "a right smart shote," 
plump and lively and immaculately pink and white; and 
when the stable was being cleaned, and the window in her 
pen was open, Belinda's investigating head looked out, and 
her little eyes, with their long white eyelashes, winked 
kindly at me as she waved her nose. "Hoc!" said Be- 
linda, encouragingly; "hoc, hac! . . . Hujus? hujus? 
. . . Huic-huic-huic !" 

At which classic salute I always waved my shovel and 
replied, "Morning, B'linda !" Sometimes I even took the 
trouble to walk over and rub the top of her head ; though 
I never quite liked to do that. I used the shovel handle. 
It was a clean head for a pig; one could see the nice 
pink skin showing through the silvery hair, but hard as a 
board, and so bristly as to send shivers to one's very 
bones. There is something illogically violent, too, about 
a pig's nose; it is eternally in motion, and, while appar- 
ently enjoying your caresses, it may suddenly rise and 
smite you with no provocation, except the eternal fact 
that pigs and humans, after all, are not meant to mix. 

For all my affection for her, therefore, our congeniality 
was astonishingly slight. One can't do very much with 
an armor-plated animal that has to be petted with shovels ! 
Besides, I never knew what she meant by those grunts 
of hers and it worried me. Belinda grunted a great 
deal; but, however eloquently her head was thrust forth 
from that hole, she might have been a hippopotamus fresh 
from the jungle or a female immigrant jabbering along 
the street with bundle and shawl, for all the understand- 
ing I felt toward her. Now, one hates to feel barriers 
between oneself and a pig one's towering intellect should 
overlook them; a pig, to a human, should be translucent; 



and one's only consolation, as with uncongenial people, is 
to conclude that it is entirely the fault of the other 
person. . . . 

It is so different with the ponies. I pass one of them 
in the yard. Our eyes meet ; I smile involuntarily. I say 
carelessly, "Hello, imp!" or some other disrespectful 
greeting, and it runs after me and shoves its head under 
my arm ! Our understanding is perfect. 

December 20. 

Alas, another day gone in household industry, that 
demon which, when it seizes me, whirls me whither I 
would not go. Especially when work, in a good light by 
the window, is patiently waiting. Not a syllable did I 
produce, merely domestic glitterings. They are very nice, 
to be sure; I admire my two beaming kettles, and my 
stove edges like mirrors; I miss, pleasantly, the wreath 
of woodsy, licheny fragments that is apt to adorn the 
floor beside the big brass pot, the delightful but tippy 
receptacle in which I keep chunk-wood. Also I cooked 
up" a week's supply of everything. Living alone, though 
one may try to have a balanced ration and all, one is 
casual about food. Balancing for one's own benefit seems 
so absurd! . . . Cooking and shining up at once, how- 
ever, is a triumph to the spirit and brings one out jolly 
at the end. It J s a funny thing; I can, and do, with per- 
fect cheer, spend no end of time on the animals' meals, 
meals served with muscle and strenuousness in exhilarat- 
ing cold barns; but finessing around in a comfortable, 
warm house, dealing out little messes in plates and cups, 
fills me with depression. 



In fact, I J ve been rather in the depths for days. Partly 
with headache, partly with an enormous sense of per- 
sonal insufficiency because I can't, and never shall be able 
to, write in the tongue of the Highland Scot ! (I 've been 
at. Stevenson again.) An entirely unfair advantage on 
his part. There he had the heather a monopoly of it; 
he had "the moorland where the whaups are calling" ; any 
chance character of his could mention that the night was 
"pit-mirk" and send shivers down your spine. . . . 
(Whereas a person nowadays has to say "pitch-dark," 
with no effect whatever. Not a shiver.) So I went 
drearily about my barn-yard jobs, quoting bitterly: 
". . . and if he can hurt Ardshiel ... If he can pluck 
the meat from my chieftain's table, and the bit toys out 
of his children's hands, he will gang singing hame to 
Glenure!" . . . Gang singing hame to Glenure! the 
purest poetry. And all because of that witching "gang" 
and "hame/' ... It 's not fair! 

But a strange meal, composed of dry bread, grape- 
fruit, and "Bill Sewall's Story of T. R.," suddenly .cured 
me. Chiefly the T. R. part of it ; though abstinence has 
its virtues. ... It has been a queer day. My morning 
went for little except a successful filling of the waste- 
basket, and this afternoon I rode six miles in a cold wind 
to call on a supposedly lonely family, and found them 
gaily entertaining company and not lonely in the least! 
Sunday is the great calling day in the country; I should 
have remembered that. Then the work horses are at lib- 
erty to have their "light harnesses" on, and farm-houses 
are alight with sociability. As it was, Polly and I stayed 
but a short time and rode home by moonlight, a thing to 
marvel at upon the snowy mountains. The sky was filled 


with puffy clouds, among which the moon sailed, making 
rainbow colors and throwing a flying light on silvered 
hills or darkened valleys. The wind had fallen. Shadow- 
branches were thick on the road. Once, in the woods, an 
owl screamed. Polly stopped and raised her head at that ; 
even Goliath, pausing beside us, lifted one fore foot, 
sniffed the night air, and shivered. . . . 

Our house, with its moon-lit roofs, looked sweeter than 
ever; in my mind I lighted one or two of its windows. 
The evening star should have been in its notch above 
the woods, but we were too late for that ; the whole blue 
sky was flashing with bold silver stars. . . . Inside the 
barn, dusk and moonlight mingled so romantically that I 
unsaddled without a lantern. It is fun to do that. You 
touch something warm and wonder, "Is that your ear, 
Pip?" You feel delicately among straps, finally, with a 
sense of triumph, stripping the bridle off without pulling 
too much hair. I am used to uncinching without looking, 
though once I mistook a hip for a wither, reached back- 
ward for the rear of the saddle, and found I had firm 
grip of a handful of tail-bone ! This frightened me almost 
as much aa it did Pblly, who is not used to being grabbed 
in wrong places and bolted into her stall with a snort of 

Next day I had to go to town. The "sleddin' " was 
harder than bones; my sleigh bumped and jarred, and 
Dolly, having lolled in a barn-yard since the last trip, was 
none too gleg in the gaits. . . . 

At last, under a pale-gray sky, over pale-gray roads, 
beside pale-gray fields with bunches of sooty woods de- 
fining them, we jingled deliberately home. It was lantern- 



time, and we had no lantern ; this we hoped no legal per- 
son would observe. Legal persons must have been at 
their suppers, for no objections were encountered, and 
Dolly, panting, landed me at length in front of our shed. 
I tried to induce her to turn the sleigh around, but it 
seemed to stick, and she lay down on the shafts instead ; 
she lay down about six times, first on one shaft and then 
on the other. She did it gracefully; but I set my bag 
of eggs on a drift and got out to help her (Dolly loathes 
doing things in snow) and found her fairly trembling 
with exertion and distaste. So I put her solicitously to 
bed and backed it in myself. There were only Christmas- 
cards in that sleigh, but it did seem heavy. I had to see- 
saw it.- 

December 29. 

Christmas week, and my child is here, making every- 
thing gay with her young ardors. So wonderful, to have 
two people dashing round the barn with pitchforks ! So 
brilliant an occasion, to be shoveling paths with the snow 
flying from a second, cooperative shovel ! And above all 
it is thrilling to set out on the road with the rhythm of 
another horse step beside one. Polly feels it as much 
as I do, and foams with competition. Her knees fly 
nearly to her chin; and I hold her in for fear she will 
tire herself out. The Maharajah is delighted to have his 
little Missis here; his nose is perpetually over the edge 
of his box, looking for her; and when saddled he stands 
with a proud eye, waiting her word. . . . 

On Christmas night a brilliant full moon rose, shining 
on the crust. It was twelve below zero. The rolling hills 


were like a silver sea. Moonlight gleamed on their tops 
and made shining paths. The belts of woods were black 
as ink. Riding home from a festive dinner at the Chicka- 
dee's, we gazed, though with teeth chattering; the horses 
galloped along the lighted roads, but even that exhilarating 
motion could not keep out the bite of the cold, and we 
turned gladly down the path to the barn. Before I could 
dismount, Polly quickly steered me to the watering- 
trough, with her little chivalrous air of "Oh, do let me 
save you the trouble of doing this later!" . . . But she 
bumped her nose on it! It was frozen hard; and the 
fence beside it shivered into bits ! 

Not a pony was to be found. They had had a k'cking- 
bee by the fence, laid it flat, and departed. The crust was 
hard; they could go anywhere. 

"Elizabeth out at this hour!" I cried. 

"And Donny she'll freeze!" mourned Babs. The 
moon, though big, was still low above the hills; so we 
brought a lantern and scurried through the orchards 
(magically beautiful, with their purples against shadowy 
silver). There we discovered a stream of tracks on the 
hard crust. 

It was dreadfully slippery on that crust ; we slid along, 
holding the lantern at the tracks, and feeling every sword- 
sharp breath of air a stab in our hearts. . . . Would 
Elizabeth's little round furriness withstand this bitter 
night? So we hurried perilously over the slopes, where 
birch clumps sketched enchanting shadows, and the moon, 
soaring aloft, shone brightly down. The dark blue sky 
was thick with stars, the Milky Way solid with them; 
even the needless glory of the northern lights flared 
tongues of greenish fire upward behind the mountains. 


A night of celebration above, as well as on earth ! and in 
the midst of such beauty our anxious quest seemed a 
bad dream. ... It was Elizabeth's first Christmas! and 
we had brought her home a lump of sugar tied up with 
red ribbon. . . . 

At the lane, tracks went in both directions, one stream 
into the dark woods. So we darted into a birchy hollow. 
Tracks were everywhere now, and round dig-places in the 
snow, where a hoof had scraped for food. We were both 
escorted by columns of steaming breath ; " 'Valleys where 
the people went about like smoking chimneys' remem- 
ber?" I panted, holding on to my nose, which seemed of 
a strange numbness. . . . 

The bushy lane turned here, and in its shadows we 
perceived clusters of deeper blackness, from which a cer- 
tain breathing quality arose . . . and then somebody very 
kindly sneezed ! 

"I '11 get over \he fence," whispered my child, with 
strategy learned of old, "and you go back to the turn and 
shoo 'em in when you hear 'em coming! I'll yell if I 
need you 1" 

Before I could even nod assentingly (as an obedient 
parent should) she was bobbing away. I dashed desper- 
ately back. If they got there before I did, and if the 
wrong pony was leading, all was lost! They would go 
tearing downhill into the woods. ... If steady little black 
Fad had been with them, she would swerve into the home 
field; but, alas! Fad was now far away, dragging a cart 
in Connecticut, and Ocean Wave, the swift and tireless, 
was leader of the gang. Mischief is the spice of Ocean's 
life. I could just see her dashing the whole crowd down 
into those shadowy depths, like the swine that dashed inta 



the sea. Only it needs no especial devil to inspire my 
darling children ; once get them in a mob, and out jump a 
dozen busy little devils ready for use devils that a pony 
ordinarily keeps tucked away in the back side of his clever 
little head. And that pitch into the woods was a divine 
dash-place, geographically and psychologically ; being 
both a lovely downhill and the exact opposite of the direc- 
tion in which they knew ad nauseam! they ought to go. 
How often had they galloped along that very lane and 
shot piously in at the opening ! And Shetlands, like peo- 
ple, can't bear being good too long. 

Awaiting the onrush, I listened intently. All was still. 
The moon shone down through the trees, and lay in pat- 
terns on the frozen snow. Tiny sounds stole into the 
night stillness : a rustle, a crisping of crust, a frost-snap 
from a tree, the fritter of a dry beech-leaf ; and, behind 
all these, the slow rise and fall of a miirmur, a vast, slow 
murmur as from forgotten winds. . . . But from up the 
lane silence. I grew anxious. Had they eluded my 
questing child and careered away? Should I stick to my 
post, or run and help? 

Just then a crunching came to my ears ; the crunching 
became a crashing, and round the corner of the birches 
dashed an agitated black mass, diving into the hollow, 
surging up over its crest, and roaring straight at me in 
full flight a lanef ul of wildness ! The woods for them ! 
and midnight, and freedom, and frozen ears hooray! 
Into the slivers of moonlight came a gallant blink of 
white ; two silver knees flashing, an ink-black mane wav- 
ing Ocean Wave, simply going it! 

"Hi !" I yelled, swinging my lantern in mad circles, and 
dancing furiously from one side of the lane to the other. 



Just as I caught the flash of Ocean's eye, and thought she 
was going straight through me, she swerved past into 
the home field. A clot of others followed, galloping their 
best, swinging on desperate small legs around the sharp 
turn; then a single pony, shining golden against the 
shadow Marigold ; after her a string of slower yearlings, 
breathing loudly; then Queenie, a little black galloping 
blot on the moon-lit snow ; and last not to be hurried 
the mare Thalma, at a laborious trot, with Elizabeth be- 
side her. Finally, out of the darkness grew two attached 
but wrestling forms, about which expostulations hovered. 
"Stop, Superb! . . . Superb, don't be an ass!" and my 
child appeared, mightily restraining an agonized parent 
whose son had run on without her. Superb was knit into 
complete curves, her whole self a tense half -circle of sus- 
pense. Once safely in the field we let her go and a 
chestnut streak shot into the valley, then up among the 
frisking mob of home-goers. We smiled at each other. 
Then our faces sobered. 

"My! this cold bites i" muttered Babs. 

"Got any nose?" I asked anxiously. 

"Not much 1" said she cheerfully, clasping it in a mit- 
tened hand. "You got any?" 

In front of us were roofs and cuddling orchards; and 
to-night a single light shone out that light I always 
longed to see. It made the whole picture; . . . even if 
one knew it was candlesticks on a side-table under my 
child's portrait! . . . And the softness of the orchard- 
darks, above clear lines of silver fields oh, dear! what 
a thing to draw at twelve below zero, and ten o'clock 
at night! Things are always gorgeous just when it *s im- 
possible to get at them. 


By the door stood a huddle of forms, meekly awaiting 
us. As we buttoned the door upon them, a sudden shock 
struck me. 

"Where's Kindness?" I gasped. 

"And Donlinna!" breathed Babs. 

We had forgotten them completely! After a rueful 
glance at the freezing hills, we looked at each other and 
burst into shouts of mirth. Seizing the lantern, we set 
off, and nearly a mile from home came upon them stand- 
ing disconsolately before a gray wayside barn, its front 
brilliant silver in the moonlight. Donlinna sprang to 
meet us. 

"Bless you, Missises !" she wickered, running her nose 
into my coat-front. 

'Why didn't you come home then, idiot?" I said, 
crossly, petting her; and started to put a halter on her. 
None of that ! With a bound and a flourish she and her 
tributary pony were off, tails up, for home. Toiling in 
their wake, we had just one glimpse of them flying along 
the moon-lit lane. . . . 

At exactly n : 15 by the kitchen clock we sat down to 
a Christmas supper. How marvelous the fire-heat felt; 
how joyfully the kettles steamed ! Which was the greater 
luxury, to bask or to eat, we did not know. The candles 
gleamed among the holly; Boo-boo purred like a happy 
cello; and Goliath, on the hearth-rug, stretched out with 
a groan of content. 

* * * 

.December 31. 

We have put Kim in the hen-house, and Superb and 
Sunny with the yard ponies. Kim needed a yard of his 
own, and Superb needed society. She was growing very 



blue in the sole company of her child, and spent her time 
peering over the fence toward the barn-yard, not exer- 
cising at all. There were kicking-bees at first, but things 
are now calming down, and the four new ponies form a 
sort of phalanx of defense, trailing around together. Kim 
is the one now suffering from solitude ; but it won't hurt 
him. He must expect to be solitary. He was no further 
good to stir up the ponies, they were so used to him, 
Superb is far more of a success in that line ! but his head 
Is now perpetually over the bars, and he yearns for his 
ladies, kick him though they did. I passed him, the other 
day, and stopped to commiserate : " 'Alone, alone, all, 
all alone, alone in a wide, wide' hen-house, Kimmie 
dear?" I inquired; and he wriggled his nostrils entreat- 
ingly. In mere desperation he dashes round. his yard a 
^reat deal, which is very good for him ; in the barn-yard, 
if he moved at all, some officious lady would rush up and 
iite him and he would subside again into a sluggish 
heap. In winter he is really too gentle for his own good ; 
ill the ponies bully him; but in the spring, behold a 
iappled dragon, with green fire shooting from his eyes, 
issuing forth on two legs only, and bellowing as he 
:omes! He tapped my shoulder once slightly; but I 
lave never walked in front of him since. As my expres- 
jive neighbors say, "It ain't safe!" 

January 2. 

We have had to put calf-chains on Kimmie's fence, to 
eep him in ; in his disgust he began to push everything 

have and spent one entire day smashing fastenings, then 
unnihg joyfully across the yard to join Bally Beg (who 


slips through the barn-yard fence regularly every morn- 
ing). When Kim found he could not smash the chains, 
he leaned on them as hard as he could and bawled at us 
in despair. Our satisfaction was intense. Blessed be calf- 
chains ! 

# * # 

January 5. 

The sun rose this morning in most indecent haste. On 
clear days it is one of my amusements to set my watch 
by the sun ; that is, by the time the paper says it rises at 
sea-level, plus the presumable interval it takes him to 
climb our mountain tops. It is a source of great discus- 
sion between Babs and me, as to how long he would be 
in getting up those two thousand or more feet. 

But to-day, as I was dressing, with one eye out of my 
eastern window, the interval seemed no more than a 
blink. The color had been wonderful, clear green and 
gold, with a golden shaft flaring up over a sash of lazy 
purple cloud; and when the gold behind Pisgah grew 
blinding bright I ran to look at Ascutney. It is his ex- 
hibition moment of the whole day; as the sunrise stole 
through his valley, he stood there amethyst and rosy-gold 
against a horizon of apple-green. Other hills near him 
were bright blue. 

And then the sun popped up. In one instant the color 
sank. Long Hill grew cold; the forests blackened; the 
snow-fields lost their glow ; as for Ascutney, he was now 
not even a decent daytime blue, but a dismal, washed-out 
hue like a blue garment that has been washed with chem- 
icals. After one beam, the sun had retired into the purple 
cloud; and a very horrid-looking world he left us. On 



kind mornings, I inform bald Pisgah reproachfully, glory 
stayed about until one's hair was done and one could 
rush out into the freshness and the glow and seize a 
pitchfork and breathe it all in ; and here the extinguishing 
had happened while I was buttoning my blouse ! 

Later, the sun came grudgingly out of his cloud; but 
it was a wliole hour before Ascutney had his blue again. 
This was impressive, because in all our years here I had 
never seen the reliable old thing (we call him our barom- 
eter) behave so. Except at a cold twilight, he always 
looks nice, and then it's a gray you expect. Night is 
coming on ; and the dear can't help it. Under moonlight, 
everij instead of being half invisible, he is an ineffable 
tint (the sort that Willard Metcalfe can do, best of all) ; 
and if anything could wash him out it would be a moon. 
The moon does such awful things to harbors ; everything 
vanishes in a sort of gray dance, and you can't pick up 
your moorings if you try. . . . 

This very moment I glanced out to see how Ascutney 
was. Blue as the sea, and an edge sharp enough to cut 

* * * 

January 7. 

My Babs has gone. Two whole weeks of luxury and 
laughter; how strange our hilltop seems ! The gleam has 
vanished; a vivid dulness settled down. . . .Even the 
barns seem vacant. But the animals have been uncom- 
monly nice. Goliath follows me everywhere. Boo-boo 
was early at his window, and quite frantic with cordial- 
ity. He even escorted me to Kim's yard and helped give 
him a drink of water and Boo does n't care for water- 



buckets, besides being a little wary of Kim, who puts 
down an exploring nose and snuffs all along a person's 
spine in a way that even a fearless rabbit-pussy does n't 
like. It makes his orange hair fairly crinkle 1 But to-day 
he put two round white paws up on the rail on which I 
rest the bucket, and purred gloriously right up into the 
enemy's nose, rubbing his head against my elbow as he 
did so. I was touched at this attentiveness. Was Boo, 
too, feeling a lack? ... Or did he, perhaps, feel that / 
was feeling one? 

When I entered the barn, two grand whinners rose 
from Queen and Elizabeth ; Elizabeth, from the platform 
of her mother's stall, staring at me with intent, baby eyes, 
her furry feet far apart, her silvery nose tucked down 
upon her chest a sight to melt the heart. Donlinna, with 
sudden ears of hate, let out a scathing heel in Queen's 
direction, then whirled around to me with demanding 
love in her eyes. I departed into the hay barn at which 
a pandemonium of pawing set up ; Thalma's hasty knock, 
Superb's furious but delicate staccato, an intermezzo of 
light pecks from the yearlings, and, under all, Donny's 
big thump. Cressy, for her part, did a fine job of horn- 
work on her wooden window ; and what a face of longing 
met me when I let it down ! Lunging forward, she mum- 
bles all over her beloved breakfast, seizing a huge mouth- 
ful, then trying to surround all the rest of it, and giving it 
fond dints with her nose. 

Down-stairs, there was an epidemic of mad sneezes 
they always sneeze when they are hungry; Polly and 
Dolly had the most awful colds ! "Hucky-chow! Hucky- 
c/&00-oo-oo! Er-r-r ker-chow! . .. . .Er-rr-r k'choo!" 
The blessed dears ! I had to hug them both. The Maha- 



rajah finds it beneath his dignity to sneeze; he trots 
silently round his box, then shoots great eyes at me over 
the edge. But there was a pained look in those eyes this 
morning. Not the happy light of the past days. She 
hadn't come to see him. ... He knew. As he ate his 
oats, there was no more joyous dribbling over the rim 
of his stall ; his head would come up, but go soberly back 
again. I bit my lip. 

"Oh, Pud!" I murmured, and buried my face in his 
neck, so that Polly, looking across, whinnered jealously 
at us. 

Just before sunset I put on snow-shoes and sought my 
favorite cure-all the high knoll. Outside the back door 
I was considerably cheered by the sight of Kim and Don- 
linna doing some long-distance flirting Kim peering 
coyly round the henhouse, and Donlinna, from the barn- 
yard gate, making all sorts of delusive sweet ears at him 
and tossing a seductively fibbing little nose. (I am en- 
tirely in love with that poetic nose, myself !) 

"If it weren't for these disgusting chains, beloved- 

est " remarked the gentleman, ogling valiantly; and 

"Darling! how I should love to kick you!" retorted the 
lady sweetly. 

She even tried those eyes on me, as I marched by. 
"Donny," I said sternly, "you are a siren. Nothing less ! 
You '11. grow a sea-green foretop, one of these days and 
sit on a rock and comb it 1" 

It was the easiest of snow-shoeing, an inch of light 
feathery snow on crust; and the winged feeling of 
liberation did not fail me. Distances were clear brutally 
clear; all the mountain world was in shadowy blue and 
white except the eastern hills, whose tops were rosy-gold 


in the last light. Ascutney was a bracing bronze, with 
cobalt shadows. There was everywhere more gold than 
pink. Bursting through the line of bushes into the pas- 
ture, I caught again the triangle of composition that al- 
ways takes my breath so tiny, so old-mastery, it is ; one 
bright pink hill, one long blue shadow, one rosy woodland 
framed by a white slope on one side, on the other by 
purple maples. A bit of priceless background from an 
old master only fresher, unvarnished, bathed in the clar- 
ity of winter. 

Reaching the knoll-top, and exulting in the glory still 
sliding up the eastern hills, I looked westward and saw 
a transparent wash of crimson creeping among the Green 
Mountains ; after one glance at it I turned and the east- 
ern world had gone cold and gray ! . . . This was a com- 
muting sunset, too ! and when I swung again to the moun- 
tains, behold, their crimson had vanished ; they were gray 
against the usual gold. A day of lightning change. 
Everything was hard ; and I trudged disconsolately to the 
farther edge of the knoll, where such a violent "Oh!" 
escaped me that Goliath looked up into my face. "Snow 
mountains, boy!" I whispered; and he gazed attentively 
about him, doubtless expecting to see a nice little one, 
on all fours, scuttling over the landscape, that being my 
dear dog's conception of anything to get excited about 
outdoors ! 

But it was a Popocatepetl I had glimpsed Popocate- 
petl, the base of him swathed in veils of bright blue, his 
top a rosy snow-wreath. Merely Mount Washington in 
the late light ; but no snow-clad volcano could have been 
lovelier. He gave me time for one long look, then be- 
gan to fade ; and I fled. I did n't want to see him turn 



hard and horrid like everything else ; but at the far edge 
Lot's wife had to look back, and lo ! he was a sweet lilac, 
above his blue robe, and very, very lovely. 

After that I descended in peace, indifferent that Ascut- 
ney was carving heaven with his edge, or that our dear 
supper rock bulged like an immodest croquet-ball upon 
his wooded rim. Our feathery hemlocks, even, at the 
head of my Christmas-card hollow, were wrought-iron 
upon the sky ; and, hastening down the last slopes, I looked 
eagerly into the barn-yard for something soft and sym- 
pathetic. So nice to know I should find it there! A 
dozen dear faces were turned lovingly up ; I greeted them 
by name. They at once swarmed to the bar-way; leaning 
over it to scratch every one of their faithful noses, I told 
them there were times when they were far more comfort 
than sunsets ; and they bit each other for joy. 

One of my very vivid ameliorations, too, is a call from 
Lucile. Lucile is an eleven-year-old neighbor, and so- 
ciable. She is also encouragingly bookish. So she comes 
over and borrows books. Yesterday she came on skis 
a fine new pair, ebony black. She upturned them on the 
porch with pride. Lucile has two nice golden-brown pig- 
tails, of crinkly, pretty hair that does beg to be allowed 
to curl, but is pasted violently back and belayed with 
combs, a smooth, tanned skin, and blue eyes of an 
unusual shape long, level, with long corners. I find 
myself staring at Lucile's eyes. A sense of humor seems 
to go with them; Lucile has a beautiful twinkle, and a 
mind that pounces on things. So we have perfect times. 
She regards me, I think, as an amiable freak; discards 
my suggestions with ease and freedom. Looking over 
a row of books, I unthinkingly said, "Here 's one The 


Three Porcupines/ You'd like that, Lucile and it's 
easy reading." 

Lucile, with a very level expression, took the book. 
"Don't need easy readin' I" ... She was quite right ! A 
"smart scholar" in school she does n't need easy reading. 
I ate my words with grace. . . . 

In mild weather Lucile also borrows ponies. In spring 
and autumn she rides our rampant colts up and down the 
lane ; they may dance and fidget, but she sticks tight, and 
manages her reins well. My Babs being now beyond 
Shetland age, I don't know what we should do without 
Lucile's young pluck. But how she loves it ! Riding .a 
recently subjugated specimen in from the lane, with what 
pride she twirls him round before us, and turns him this 
way and that! Then, with her competent little nose in 
the air, starts him off up the mowing-road! If she 
tumbles off, she giggles and mounts again; if the saddle 
twists, or a bridle-rein breaks, Lucile knows what to do 
and does it, with composure. Nothing like a farm 
training for that. . . . Composure, in fact, is Lucile's 
great card. Also independence. After various pleasant 
interludes yesterday, and much book discussion, she was 
taking her leave. 

"Got to go now. Ma said I could stay an hour. S'pose 
it's an hour, ain't it?" 

I reluctantly admitted it was. 

She fingered my typewriter longingly. "Well, s'pose 
I '11 put my old coat on. It 's awful old. But Mia says 
it 's just right to go skiin' in." I helped her with the arms 
a tight fit ! Then the knitted cap, muffler, and gloves ; 
and the little figure flitted through the kitchen. Adjust- 



ing the new skis with unsentimental speed, "G'by!" she 
threw at me, and was skimming away. 

"Lucile, where 's your pole ?" 

"Don't need no pole!" came the crisp reply. And, 
watching her, I ate my words again. She did n't! 

Down the snow billows of the lane whizzed the little 
figure, and across the brook not a single tumble. 
Hooray for a country bringing up! 

* * # 

January 10. 

I wish Boa-boo were n't so fond of literature. In the 
morning the sun shines on my work-table, so he takes his 
perch there on a pile of precious manuscript and dislikes 
to be dislodged. Under the lamplight, too, the low table 
allures him, and he leaps lightly up, sometimes merely 
sitting there, sometimes trifling, delicately, with the fas- 
cinating mechanism of keys. This morning there were 
cat-hairs in oily parts of the machinery; and they won't 
brush off ! When I came in from the barn I found him 
up there, surveying the machine coquettishly out of the 
corner of one eye; so, despite a wiggle of protest I put 
him out of the window upon the straw of the banking, 
where he likes to sleep. But he walked up to the .side 
steps and seated himself. Goliath was on the step above 
him ; they both sat there meditatively, gazing at the val- 
ley. Goliath stooped and smelled at Boo's ear; then -re- 
sumed his gazing. Everybody gazes at the valley, from 
that side porch. Goliath finds it a source of endless 
speculation. This morning there must have been a butch- 
ering somewhere; his long yellow nose was questing un- 
commonly. Pretty soon I shall miss him; but later he 



will appear with a penitent expression and a frightful 
great gory bone, with which he will proceed to ensanguine 
the terrace snow. And then I shall have to go out with 
the fireplace shovel, and poke fresh whiteness over the 
spots. I don't like gory snow! 

At breakfast to-day I could not help noticing how 
nice the shine is on the backs of our dining-room chairs. 
There is no varnish on them ; it is flannel-shirt shine ! We 
use this room mostly in winter, so the chair-backs are 
.beautifully polished merely with the friction of our favo- 
rite winter raiment. They are nice old chairs ; they have 
mahogany backs with carved grapes at the top, and blue- 
green tapestry seats, growing pleasantly faded in this 
sunny room. 

(I have just let Boo in again. A round face, very 
serious, almost agonized, appeared above the window-sill 
beside me; two round, lemon-colored eyes stared miser- 
ably into mine. The sill is unpleasantly sloping, and he 
cannot hang there long, so I lifted the sash, and with a 
bright "Pro-oo!" of thanks he hopped in.) 

I noticed, too, how charming was the dark-blue bowl 
of lilies on the mahogany breakfast-table. Across it I 
see two thin, white-painted, old doors, of unequal size, 
with antique hinges; beside them is a notch in the buff 
wall containing a worn but well-bred old table bearing 
brass candlesticks and fruit-bowl. Above this table, in 
the notch, is a pastel of my child, aged eight, in a sea- 
blue frock, with her dark hair Dutch-cut; it is a good 
likeness, but what matters, apart from that, is the note 
of blue on the sand-colored wall, neighboring the thin 
old white doors, and the brown table with its gleam of 
brass. . . . The long leaves of the lilies were veined and 



whitish at the base, then yellow-green; later, as they 
streamed upward to the creamy heads of the blossoms, 
jade-green, with a soft blue bloom upon them where they 
turned to the light. The blue of the sky! They had 
brought it in for me. Not many plants can do that. That 
is one reason I love lilies so. Another is, a very dear 
person sent them to me, bowl and all. . . . Did she think, 
I wonder, of my notes of blue? For even in the Japanese 
curtains are touches of it thin slips of color, only, not 
to collide with the view, but just to show my dear rattly 
old window- frames they are not neglected ! 
# # * 


The reason, I suppose, why I was so dreamy at break- 
fast, was that the day before was a day of immense social 
agitation ! Some friends telephoned that they were driv- 
ing up from the Inn to see me that afternoon ; and, with a 
certain buzz of mingled alarm and pleasure going through 
me, I urged them to come. 

Friends are very exciting! Old friends, that one has 
not seen for years. . . . My room, I suddenly saw, - 
needed dusting. A few of Goliath's golden hairs were 
ornamenting the blue-and-sand-colored rugs; in corners 
of the ceiling a surreptitious cobweb or two had appeared. 
This old house exudes spiders, I find, at every season 
of the year. Immodest spiders, who do not go into proper 
winter retirement. I wish they would leave off spinning 
webs in snow-time ; one's ceilings are then so distressingly 
bright. In summer, I and the hearth-broom have daily 
quests and always find a series of darling little webs, 
done overnight, on beam or fireplace, not to mention long, 
indecently dangling ropes, down which athletic builders 



gaily climb, aiming, usually, for the center of the hearth- 
rug, and leaving their telltale halyards waving directly 
in a visitor's face! . . . How different a loved and 
familiar spot appears, when viewed with the eye of prob- 
able guests. I suddenly saw all sorts of sins in my 
house. That new leak on the living-room ceiling how 
yellow-brown and grievous ! It was done by the thirsty 
rat that gnawed a hole in a bath-room lead pipe and let 
down a cataract on us in the middle of the night an 
odious rat ! And the stain would not have been that fear- 
ful color had it not been for the chipmunks and red squir- 
rels who store butternut shells inches deep of them 
in the space between our ceilings and upper floors. (Car- 
penters, when the house was carved open for dormers, 
found the shells there.) In the autumn we hear them 
doing it rolling balls about, over our heads; and, at 
night, what carnivals and scamperings! I used to be 
annoyed by it; but I should miss it now that sound of 
revelry by night. When one is quite alone, one likes to 
hear the furry people having such a gay time up above. 

After a morning of writing, therefore, for no guest, 
dust, or spider-web would one omit that! I threw one 
distracted glance about me, and flew. Bestriding a com- 
manding peak of my wood-pile, I furiously shook my 
rugs; in winter that is the only, place there is to shake 
them. I will not flutter dust over the pretty snow! I 
like clean snow quite as much as I like clean rugs. And 
the night before there had fallen a delightful fluffy inch 
of it, all downy and lovely around the rose-bushes and 
on the straw banking. . , . 

Soon it was two o'clock; I pushed the hair from my 
smoothing brow. Could I not, now that this practical 



side of the house was finished, open up the decorative 
one ? Was there not time to have a glorious fire on the 
hearth, the wicker tea-table set near, the piano open and 
hospitable? I cast a reckless glance into the old hall- 
mirror with its pale-gold frame at my snow-illumined 
image, all flying hair and shining eyes, and muttering 
scornfully, "Oh, it won't take a second to dress !" departed 
on a trot for the wood-shed. I found a three-foot log 
with the gray bark still on it, I love flame-color licking 
over gray ! and upon this built a noble structure ; then, 
after a dab with a duster, a clutch at water-colors, and a 
tweak forward to the tea-table, sped upstairs. 

Coming down again, I went hopefully to the window. 
It was three o'clock. But Inn luncheons are late, of 
course, so I walked restlessly about, eying the living-room 
with its thoughtful color, its golden fire, its side view o-f 
snowy orchards, and longing for a sound of bells. I can 
always tell those Inn bells, with their pinched politeness 
of sound, so different from the hearty dongling of coun- 
try sled-bells. ... Ha! through the woods, a thin tin- 
gling ; a glittering equipage appeared. I flew about for ,a 
moment that picture was crooked, and, good heavens, I 
hadn't dusted the clock! and then stood on the porch, 
palpitating, but with warm pleasure in my heart. It was 
nice (though I don't approve of it) to see varnish once 
more, and well-cared-f or faces ; and clothes, real clothes ; 
and velvet hats with glitterations on them! The smiles 
approached, cleverly navigating my newly-brushed ice- 
path between the cinnamon roses and the drifts ; and soon 
my little hall was filled with chatter, as furs were doffed. 
Then the chatter moved in beside the blazing logs. What 
a strange joy it was ta talk, to fish gleefully into the past 


and fling its fragments about us, with the unfailing aroma 
of pleasantness that pasts always seem to possess ! And 
then to divert ourselves to the still more amusing 1 present. 

My friends, when informed of my manner of life, 
grasped their chair-arms in amazed interest. They know 
my wild love of outdoors too well to be horrified; but 
"You haven't anybody to help you in the barnf" they 
repeated, quite without smiles, and gazing searchingly at 
me; and, at my grin of negation, lapsed back upon the 
cushions of their chairs. 

"Well," said the elder of the two, reflectively helping 
herself to a biscuit, "I was telling Gwendolyn as we drove 
out, I thought I could be very contented, living in the 
country. I don't think it would bore me, really!" (I 
thought it very nice of her to say that.) 

"It would n't on this farm !" I replied gaily. "Drama 
never fails us." And I related a few of our little contre- 
temps. I told them about our mother-ponies ; of old Julia, 
who takes her child under the hedge when it rains, and 
squints learnedly up at the clouds before she allows it to 
venture out ; of the time, late one summer evening, after a 
hard storm, when I went the round of the sheds and 
found dear old Julia down from the woods and taking 
shelter there, a wet green leaf in her mane, and hidden be- 
hind her, in the shadowy corner, a brand-new colt! . . . 
Of the expression more than humanly rich and soft and 
proud in her brown eyes. ... 

Pretty, golden-haired Gwendolyn, who looks eighteen 
but has three golden-haired babies of her own at home, 
was listening trancedly. She looked at her mother. 

"How simple !" she sighed. "Would n't it be nice to go 
to the woods that way " 


"And come down with a green leaf in your hair?" I 
finished, smiling. "Very becoming, my dear!" 

When these most satisfying visitors rose, the sunset was 
spreading loveliness upon sky and hills; asseverations of 
the "interesting time" they had had floated back from 
among the cinnamon rose-bushes. I stood on the porch, 
watching; then walked, still in a pleasant daze, into the 
living-room. Tea fragments were piled in pictorial 
heaps . . . just what the room needed a little friendly 
disorder. ... I picked up the tray. 

Chores that evening were done in a gilded haze. Bright 
voices, glints of sequins and sapphire velvet, tinged my 
comings and goings ; an atmosphere of almost human good 
will radiated from hay, pitchforks, and sniggering beasts ; 
but that evening, when, with a thought of more hours 
before that glorious fire, I glanced in at the living-room 
door, the empty chairs before the hearth sent me tumultu- 
ously out again . . . and bolting back into my den of 
industry. ... A different climate reigned there: the cat 
had his chair, the dog his rug, I my writing-table. I looked 
round me with thankfulness. It seemed once more pos- 
sible to be alone. ... At supper, Boo reached up with 
adoring claws, Goliath's golden head arrived on my other 
side, and, regardless of my rug, I distributed bread and 

butter lavishly. 

* * * 

January 12. 

Sunrise this morning was the loveliest yet, with streaks 
of mist stringing romantically across mountains, blotting 
out the tops of a forest, or curling away down a valley. 
There had been a heavy white frost, and all the woods 
were silvered. A misty sun came up; shadowy color 



crept upon the hills ; hollows in the snow-fields were misty 
blue or pale lavender. It was all gentle and soft-edged 
and sweet, as if to make up for the awful hardness one 
had suffered from of late. As I went out, the rose-color, 
even more deliciously shadowed, was creeping down the 
knoll, on whose rosy sides streaked blue shadows of the 

My eye, suddenly descending, fell on a most humorous 
black blot in the path an exact portrait of Kipling's 
"Animal That Came Up Out of the Sea" ; and I laughed 
aloud. Bally Beg ! who had escaped me the night before, 
and stayed out. Now he stood fatefully regarding me, 
a beard of hoar-frost under his chin, white hoar-frost 
whiskers, and in the midst a very black, solemn little face 
and two shoe-button eyes with a gleam of high light in 
each. His ears, so small they were almost lost in that 
frosted foretop, stuck up tiny points of interrogation. 
. . . "I've been out all night I What will she do with 
me ?" But he stood his manful ground as I approached. 

"Bally, you sinner," I said, "come into the barn !" With 
a marked brightening of expression, he trotted briskly in, 
and at once made a spiteful dart for little Queen, who was 
chewing something ! But I had him by the frosted fore- 
top before he had obliterated her entirely, and dragged 
him into the hay barn. That was paradise ; and, while I 
slammed down wooden windows and negotiated wickering 
noses, Bally pawed for oat-husks and had a heavenly 
time. Then he was again seized by that unfortunate front 
hair and towed out to breakfast with his mates. He 
condescends to stay with them at meals; but, when the 
last wisp is cleaned up, off goes Bally over his ice- 
mountain. It is a dreadful example to the others; but 


how can one possibly build a fence over a wall already 
buried in ice, and ending in the watering-trough? He 
will slip in, some day ; that is my worry. We had a sheep 
drown in that trough one winter. ... 

As I sat milking this morning, I woke up to the fact 
that I was most blessed in my view from the milking- 
stool. The barn is old, mellow, and brown, with white- 
wash wearing becomingly off, and hand-hewed beams. 
Just across the aisle is Superb, with her nut-color and 
silver stockings. Beyond her appears about two-thirds of 
jet-black Thalma, around whom hovers the pale shape of 
Elizabeth. Farther on is pretty little Queen, very dressy 
in her white halter; and from the stall across the aisle 
sometimes a chestnut tail protrudes ; anon it moves for- 
ward if Donny is in a fidget to be out. Sunny, beyond 
her, is obscured from me; but just behind the looming 
bulk of Cressy I hear Lassie munching so loud that a pic- 
ture of her, too, is added to the scene. Elizabeth dearly 
loves to watch me milk, and comes wandering down the 
brown aisle, delicately gathering a straw or two as she loit- 
, ers along, finally taking up her stand by me, directly behind 
Cressy, and staring with cocked ears at the fascinating 
process. I love her interest ; in fact, I love her all over : 
shy eyes, silvery wool, round hips, curly tail. I think 
Cressy would kick if she knew she were being so minutely 
watched ; she hates ponies, and she hates being watched. 
Sometimes Elizabeth advances so far as to lay her little 
nose on my knees and turn one eye inquisitively down 
into the pail! doubtless wondering if she would enjoy 
this queer milk as much as she does Mother's. . . . 

After she wanders away I rise, with actual regret, from 
my job and my pleasant scenery. Then the rush to the 



yard begins ; a mash of Shetlands, then Donlinna the in- 
tolerable, who, darting furiously about, clears the neigh- 
borhood of every living thing before she will begin her 
deliberate drink, when she nuzzles fussily at bits of float- 
ing ice. After this sacred rite is over, she becomes sud- 
denly playful; seizes Elizabeth by the wool (she adores 
Elizabeth, and is really most gentle with her), and the 
two go curveting off for their games, dodging about the 
salt-rocks, nipping desperately at each other's knees, or 
racing about with their tails high in air. Donny has to 
stoop far down to get at Elizabeth's knees ; but that daunt- 
less baby sasses up to her big playmate as if more than 
her equal in size. ... It is a hard sight to get away 
from; but I propel myself indoors. 

* * # 


A snow-storm is sweeping across the hills. From a 
soft blue the sky grew swiftly gray, and I looked out in 
time to see Long Hill losing itself in whiteness. In the 
valley, gray veils began whirling against the woods ; and 
there the storm seemed to stay. But it must have been 
racing toward us, for in another instant great flakes came 
across our big elms, at first indefinitely, then making a 
fierce rush up the hill. Recruits joined them, the valley 
thickened, and now I can see only the line of trees by the 
first wall thin, ghostly, in the driving snow and a few 
hunted-looking pear-trees. 

I love this blotting out by a storm. One feels so shel- 
tered, so wrapped round. One might be at sea! The 
winds roar; there are rattlings and shiverings the rat- 
tling of rigging, the shivering of a ship's timbers in a 


gale? When darkness comes, I shall be looking out for 
a lighthouse. We lived once where we saw five. They 
blinked, from dune or ocean, their different blinks at us, 
and were most comforting. In the worst storms one or 
two of them disappeared; but on a sand-bar across the 
bay was a pink one that shone almost at our windows. 
The lighthouse-keeper's wife used to watch for my lonely 
light, as I watched for hers ; if mine did not appear, she 
would say, "Mis' Greene's down street or she's gone 
boatin', and ain't got back yet" ; and she would look out 
to see that light shine across the water. . . . 

From here I see no lights. By day, three little snow- 
covered barn roofs, each smaller than the other, show 
against a hemlock hill; and to the right, where a high 
pasture rolls -downward, are more tiny roofs, with chim- 
neys, and rosy brick gables. If the field had rolled a little 
lower, I should have had their lamps gleaming up at me ; 
every winter scene needs one light to be the heart of the 
dark flower. But pink gables are something; they catch 
the sunrise, and I prize them. . . . All day, wood- 
choppers have been annoying me. From a far hillside I 
could hear that insignificant sound of pecking, which 
means such dole to the forests, and just now, as I stood 
watching the storm, they began again. I thought, of 
course, they had gone. "Oh, stop pecking and look at 
something beautiful!" I found myself saying, petulantly. 
. . . How can they chop in such a lovely storm ? 

Boo-boo, with a piteous expression, and a horrid brown 
cobweb strung all across his face, has just been hanging 
on the window-edge. I let him in and took off the cob- 
web, and he is now sitting on the inside sill, purring, his 
head tilted to watch the snow-flakes. His eyes dance; 



he tilts his head adorably, and tosses a coquettish nose. 
He is so charming, with his orange back and snowy breast 
against the storm ! During his city winter, that was one 
joy not denied him; sitting in a window, he could watch 
the rush of white flakes across the chimney-pots, and the 
flight of disturbed pigeons. Sometimes the pigeons 
wheeled quite near; Boo would crouch, and his eyes 
darken desirously. But, like most city fun, it came to 
nothing. The pigeons clapped their wings and flew away. 

* * * 

January 13. 

I had a sad puzzle about my dinner, to-day ! After a 
fevered morning at work, I rose, wondering rather dis- 
mally what I should have for dinner. (I have gravitated 
to noon dinners after all; I find that it is then or never.) 
There was beefsteak the remnants of a rash two pounds 
the stage-driver brought up days ago. I shall never get 
two pounds of anything again. It keeps terribly here ; we 
get our meat very fresh "walking around, yesterday!" 
as Babs remarked ; also it 's very tough. But there was 
a portion of nice soft tomato, ready for warming, and 
and I pressed my hands to my bewildered forehead 
aha! I would have rice. That was quick and easy to 
do, my kettle was boiling ; so I hove in dry shingles, trans- 
ferred the kettle, and set a cupful of rice dancing. Watch- 
ing it, I suddenly remembered that it was time to take in 
the cow ; so I dashed out, tossed her her dinner, and sped 
back again to pass a toasting-fork exploringly through 
the sunken rice. It is not Japanese, Fanny says, to stir 
it with a spoon; besides, it is gummy; and I don't like 
gummy rice. . . . Once more I careered barnward to let 


in certain ponies for a noon meal. Donlinna, who thinks 
she is a frail flower and needs cherishing, rushes in with 
them; and Thalma, whether I want her or not, shoots in 
under my arm like a bullet. Sometimes I think she de- 
serves this pampering, sometimes I don't; but she comes 
in just the same. Elizabeth, meanwhile, stands by the 
shed and stares. She does n't want to leave the fun of 
the yard just because Mother is ravenous; so, after in- 
viting her, I closed the door. 

Again I sped into the house to stir the rice, but found 
it taking clever care of itself, and swollen to a snowy, 
soft-grained mass. ... On my blue plate, though, flank- 
ing the hastily toasted steak, it looked somehow arid and 
unrelated. . . . Gravy! and cursing my wretched com- 
position sense, which dogs me like my shadow, I went into 
the kitchen, made gravy, poured its uniting tint over the 
Alpine stretches of rice and sat down at last in peace ; 
eating with one hand, greedily reading (with the other!) 
a lurid Western novel. . . . There is such a thing (as the 
T. B. M. has discovered!) as relaxing one's brain with 
material one would otherwise scorn ; so my Western story, 
with its bold, unshaded happenings, was a success. I rose 
revived. . . . 

Bally Beg, by the way, did fall into the trough to-day ! 
I was sure he would. I met him, luckily, soon after, as 
he was walking ruefully round from the lower path, 
shivering "like an ager,""the rear half of him soaking 
wet and trimmed with little icicles. He gave a pathetic 
"Hoo-hoo I" when he saw me, and came jingling toward 
me with hope in his little ears. ... He has lately gath- 
ered a bunch of burdocks in his foretop, which stiffen it 
greatly as a hauling medium ; so by that ornament I drew 



him into a warm stall and gave him aconite and grain with 
ginger in it, and he is none the worse. But what a daunt- 
ing bath ! We shall see now whether he will attempt to 
scale his glacier again. A slip like that is alarming but 
so is Shetland persistence. Its example would have done 
Robert Bruce more good, I know, than collections of 
spiders of whom it would take an entire phalanx, climb- 
ing and reclimbing, to give even a hint of the mental 
workings of this same Bally ; of Kim at his calf-chains ; 
of Thalma the Bullet; of Ocean, the fence-derider or, 
perhaps (some day) , of sweet and docile baby Elizabeth. 

Who can tell? 

* * * 

January 14. 

My wood-choppers have ceased pecking and become 
pictorial. Their hillside shows its profile to us; and 
down its perilous steeps the loads of logs go plunging. It 
is a heroic job. The driver stands, leaning back mightily 
on his lines, while the horses gallop to keep out from 
under the load. In the far distance, and in to-day's driv- 
ing snow-storm, these shapes of galloping horses flitted 
like Valkyrs in the clouds. The forest was behind them, 
the storm roared, and Valkyr music rushed about the 
sky: Brunnhilde, on the heights, might well have been 
waving her warrior sisters to earthward flight. More 
teams rushed downward through the gray whirl; shouts 
battled with the shriek of the wind ; into the drifts, with 
a smother of white, then out again across the fields. . . . 
They must be in a hurry for those logs for men are 
loath to be out in such storms. It is late afternoon, now, 
the sky is darkening, and snow pelting, on the windows ; 
but still the muffled shouts come up across the wind. 



January 15. 

This has been a day of odds and ends. Last night the 
plumbing sprang a mysterious leak; so my providential 
neighbor the one whose chimneys I see in the valley, and 
who is that mixture of farmer, plumber, electrician, car- 
penter, sportsman, and general humorist to be found only 
in the heart of rural regions came striding briskly up our 
hill, soldering-kit in hand. Between us, with much step- 
laddering and running up and down, the mystery was 
partly solved and the beastly pipes put in shape again. 
That necessarily shattered my morning; yet I managed, 
while my neighbor was soothingly soldering away up- 
stairs, to slip in a distracted paragraph or two. (John 
Burroughs says a paragraph a day is an essay a month 
and an essay a month is a book a year which ought to, 
be enough for any one !) 

In the afternoon I meant to do a great deal and did n't. 
It was ice-storming hard ; the steady slatting on the win- 
dows inspired one to a sort of cozy idleness. I tried to 
write, but my brain would go to sleep in the middle of 
sentences ; so I displaced Boo-boo from his chair by my 
pet window, read an essay, and dreamed into the view. 
It was a gray, stormy, disappearing view, the kind I espe- 
cially love ; and I sat there, loving it. Trees were a clear, 
f ringy silver ; lower down, a red-brown, edged with silver ; 
ending with their dark, unsilvered stems. The woodlands, 
too, were shadowy silver; far in the valley was a little 
ice-bouquet of an apple-tree, very tiny and perfect, set in 
the middle of a white meadow. Hills, there were none; 
beyond the apple-tree, just veils upon veils of storm. 

by, the garden was shining with ice.; a,nd the tw,Q A 


old faded lettuce-green doors in the ell had a coat of 
ice-varnish which turned them a detestable grass-green. 
The ell-front is usually so nice ; it is capable of a fringe of 
icicles a yard long; and I make a point of looking at it. 
But to-day I fell back in my chair and forgot it as soon 
as possible. . . . The way the antiphonal winds went 
chanting about, now in this side of the valley, now in that! 
The book of essays was often in my lap; I had a sense 
of ineffable leisure. All the animals were in; the cow 
barn ponies loose in their quarters (probably irritating 
Cressy to the frothing-point by stealing spears of her 
hay!) ; and down-stairs I had let the horses roam as they 
chose. Ice-storms are their detestation. ... 

At last I pulled on goloshes and departed into a slip- 
pery world. It was still icing; the path glittered, reflect- 
ing yellow gleams from my lantern. ... I found the 
horse barn in confusion. The children had been playing 
hard. The hay alley ladder was down across the aisle; 
brushes, pails, and measures were strewn about the floor. 

"Had a lovely time housekeeping, didn't you?" I in- 
quired, shutting them hastily into their stalls; and they 
seemed subdued and guilty. Bally Beg was scuttling nerv- 
ously about under everybody's legs, for he lives with the 
horses now, and, just because 'he is bad and climbs a 
wall, has a palatial box-stall all to himself. It enrages 
me every time I put him in. Some of the perfectly good 
yard ponies deserve it a great deal more ; but I really don't 
want Bally to drown. 

I then went about doing chores, putting down moun- 
tains of dusty hay, but still feeling that sense of infinite 
leisure the aftermath of my desultory afternoon; and 
I fiddled so long with Cressy's bunch of hay, getting just 



the exact amount picked up on the fork, that she blew at 
me in exasperation. I love to hear a cow do that. . . . 
Dgnlinna's hair was soaking wet from the storm, and 
when I made her up an especially beautiful bed she at 
once pawed it impetuously back into the aisle! With 
great effort Donny never likes to move I pushed her 
forward and redistributed the straw, draping it judiciously 
round her legs; and she immediately lay down upon it 
with a gusty sigh of satisfaction! Donny is a funny 
mare, not unlike some excellent housekeepers I know; 
I suppose it was n't "made to suit her" at first ! 

With the lantern on my arm, I staggered across the 
icy yard with great loads of hay for the shed ponies, who 
followed me in a slipping, squealing, skidding crowd, 
stealing bites off my load, twitching me this way and that, 
and so imperiling my precarious equilibrium that I roared 
at them in wrath; whereat they scampered tumultuously 
ahead, turning to greet me in the doorway with such care- 
fully innocent faces! Dropping my burden, I waded 
through whisking forms, trying to string a systematic 
supper for them around the walls. It is their most cher- 
ished playtime; one grows expert dodging heels. The 
heels of joy, merely! which mostly bang on the parti- 
tion so much so, that a plank in their house was entirely 
absent one morning, and a nice snow-landscape look- 
ing in ! 

All the wooden buttons on the shed doors were glued 
fast with ice. I like iced buttons. It is fun to knock 
them with a fork-handle, and see the satiny covering of 
ice crinkle up, as they yield. . . . To-night the yard was 
gray, darksome, and void; last night it was brilliant as 
a ball-room, with that glorious pair, crescent moon and 



evening star, hanging together just over the snow-laden 
roofs. Orion, above the watering-trough, was charging 
up into the heavens with that valiant air of his I love so ; 
and all the great blue-blackness thick with stars. The 
barn-yard is beautiful at night ; no matter how the wind 
howls, I have to halt in the middle of it and stare. One 
sees more stars there than from anywhere else ; it seems 
under the very center of them; and they shine so per- 
sonally down. Anything peering right over your barn 
roof at you can't but be personal; and Venus and the 
moon were like two jolly intimates up there though so 
frostily lovely as to take one's breath away. 

Their neighborliness was inspiriting : I did all sorts of 
extra things. I even gave an evening chop to the trough 
it makes it so much easier for the poor frozen thing to 
overflow properly during the night, without having to 
swell up like a compressed volcano, looking, in the morn- 
ing, like an especially fat apple tart with a cup under its 
crust ! And, when you chop into the tart, it explodes all 
over you. 

* * * 

January 17. 

The stock hay is nearly gone from my kind convenient 
little loft above the cow stable, and soon I shall have 
to daunt the horrid heights on the other side of the 
barn. My neighbors who did my haying "on shares" 
have taken away their half, cutting perpendicularly down 
and leaving a shaven precipice in the very middle; so 
that the built-in ladder (which bisects the mow) barely 
connects with one small and shaky corner of the square. 
Last night, as I stood on the hay barn floor surveying 



it, it looked rather ghastly. A storm was howling out- 
side, the wind tearing round the old building, shaking 
it and making my lantern flicker in the draft. ... I 
don't like windy nights in that old barn! Everything 
whacks and rattles so; things hung on the outside of 
it a pair of old whiffletrees make noises like a bat- 
tering-ram. Boo-boo, as usual in a storm, was highly 
elated ; with a victorious "Pr-oo !" he dashed up the ladder 
three rounds at a jump, popped his golden head wickedly 
over the edge at me, and disappeared in a whisk of hay- 
dust. Reluctantly I grasped fork and lantern and started 
up after him. Everything did roar so ; I could n't even 
hear the vehement pawings on the other side of the 
partition; the shadows seemed unusually black, my lan- 
tern dimmer than common. There was a queer, half- 
greenish tint upon the hay. . . . One suddenly felt very 
much alone! 

I set the lantern on its customary beam, so that the 
rays fell upon the depleted contents of the little loft, 
which I proceeded to throw down; and, as the forkfuls 
went thudding down into the inky blackness below, a 
terror stole over me. ... I glanced fearfully around. 
What if I should see, in the greenish darkness, a Face 
upon that ladder? ... or hear a growly Voice, ad- 
dressing me out of the shadows ? 

Just then came a whirl of real sound behind me a 
mad thrashing in straw ; then a crash. My heart stopped ! 
Cold as ice, but gripping my fork, I slowly turned to 
f ace whatever it might be ; and there on a beam crouched 
Boo-boo, staring wickedly at me! My fork fell with a 
thud. I sank upon the straw. 

"Boo!" I said weakly. "You frightened me so!" 


"Pr-ow!" he said gaily. "Did I?" and, with one of 
his unerring leaps, landed in my lap. I pressed him to 
my face. "Stay with me, Boodums," I said; "Missis is 
silly to-night" ; and rose, with him clinging to my shoul- 
der, purring blissfully. Not often does he get rides in 
hay-lofts; and, just as in his youth he stuck to the pomes' 
backs, so now he clung while I dealt with hay and yet 
more hay, and with that warm, purring thing on my neck, 
all the foolish bogies went shrieking away into the storm ! 

But they were very real bogies. In my childhood I 
used to have them fearfully at night; wolves, always 
wolves, closer and closer, stepping, stepping though all 
the time it was my little heart, beating with terror against 
the pillow. But how was I to know that? ... It was 
wolves; I heard them coming! My nurse had told me 
stories about wolves in Siberian forests; and every 
night they came after me, till I nearly died with fright. 
I never told any one; it was too awful! 

Boo even went with me out into the storm to put the 
ponies to bed. As we passed a fence-post he felt obliged 
to jump upon that, and left me ; but he was waiting out- 
side the stable door when I had fed the horses and 
stepped out again into the whirling snow. "Pr-oo !" and 
there was a faithful bunch of fur leaping through the 
drifts. He is dependable that way when you'd least 
expect it, of a cat. He seems to have me on his mind 
this winter. . . . 

As we gained the warm, cozy kitchen, however, I drew 
its bolts with haste and pleasure, and we settled ourselves 
for a meal, thinking happily of those others also sup- 
ping, in their stalls. . . . Though I should want a light, 
if I were a horse! Stalls are shadowy things. . . I 



should want several lights! . . . Whereat, not to think 
about shadows any more, I reached for a book. Later, 
Boo asked to go out. 

"What again, Boo ?" I said. "You are a little sport !" 
and held the door open to watch the brave Httle figure 
bounding through the drifts, "He 's more of a sport than 
you, old man!" I told Goliath, who was making pretty- 
bows in my rear, and casting a longing eye toward the 
abandoned milk in the kitty-dish. "Yes, drink it up! Boo 
is out for gayer things than milk!" 

And so it proved. A muffled "Maw 1" at the window, 
and there he was, two shining eyes, and a large, dark 
thing in his mouth. I rushed to let him in and a strong 
waft of wind and snow with him. "Oh, noble Boo!" 
I cried (for we encourage these hunts !) ; "oh, a wonderful 
rat, darling!" as he laid a large gray rat on the rug and 
looked beamingly up. "Yes, Boo, quite the most mar- 
velous rat I ever saw!" and he twined lovingly round 
my feet . . . "Prow-row!" he murmured softly . . . 
then with a sudden, ferocious change of expression, fell 
bloodthirstily upon his meal! 

"Boo!" I shrieked, "not here! not on my rug!" and, 
rat and all, conveyed him into the kitchen, closing the 
door gently upon him. 

To-day the storm is over. The sun shines brightly, yet 
winds are not "now upgathered like sleeping flowers"; 
they are still howling and our light snow is fleeing before 
them. The "wully wa's," such as Kim and the Lama 
watched on Kedarnath, are whirling upon the shining 
crust of the hills; on the bal'd brow of Long Hill they 
are doing the wildest white dances everywhere running, 


twisting, fleeting before the blasts of cold north wind. 
It is a misty, silvery world, seen through this glittering 
Spray; even the blue sky is silvery; the sunshine is pure 
silver on the profiles of the pasture billows. Those agile 
"wully wa's" are not only on the hills ; they are playing 
swift tag in the meadow skitting wildly through the lit- 
tle orchard and down the bank into the garden, where 
they seize hands and do mad whirligigs for the benefit 
of a sweet crab-apple-tree on its edge. . . . An expanse 
of glittering crust will be apparently swept bare; but 
straight at it from somewhere comes a rush of fresh 
ones, gyrating rapturously upon this fine new ball-room 
floor, like a frolic of ghosts. 

Even under the warm sun, the mercury is sinking. It 
promises a cold night. 

* * * 

January 18. 

Twenty below ! 

Something woke me soon after six. A solemn glow 
was burning over the woods, and I got up. There was 
something portentous in the look of it. Last night the 
moon and stars glittered ominously, few stars only being 
visible, as the moon's light is now strong. The wind 
roared blindingly. 

Earlier, while I was half asleep, a loud bong had startled 
me, slightly shaking the bed. It sounded like a pipe; I 
am getting to know what bong in the morning means! 
Were all our labors of the day before to be of no avail? 
And I dressed hastily, wondering what melodrama of 
plumbing the day might bring forth. 

Down-stairs I found the precious spring water run- 
ning merrily; and drew a sigh of relief. Other things 



did not matter! The bath-room, to be sure, was frozen 
solid the bong had come from there; but on the spring 
faucet all one's hopes are hung. So, putting on two pairs 
of gloves, I went very cheerfully out to the bam. 

The Animals were fairly crisp! Poor Cressy was in 
a shivering hoop, with a belt of frost across her hips ; all 
the ponies had frosty muzzles. How they did pound for 
their breakfast! I ran, serving them; and every time 
I came out of that tomb of a hay barn I did a dance of 
pain, pulling off gloves to blow on my unbearable fingers. 
To grasp a pitchfork was agony. . . . And there was 
no hay down for the horses in the lower stable! So I 
had to locomote those lofts, I know ft was forty below 
up there! pulling out prolonged and reluctant locks of 
hay (it is sticking badly just now) and poking it down the 
drafty hole with all the deliberation of a summer noon. 

On coming out of the barns at last, a measure of the 
cold was given me by the sight of a most pitiful rabbit- 
cat (who had gone bravely out with me), sitting in the 
sunniest spot he could find, shivering violently, and shift- 
ing his toes miserably up and down. I never saw Boo 
shiver before, except on a Boston fire-escape, where I 
used to put him out for air ; and then he shivered at the 
street noises! so, swinging him to my shoulder, where 
he did not purr at all, I raced to the house. He made 
at once for the sun-spot on his pile of manuscript, and 
crouched there, still shifting his paws with a look of suf- 

The snow has frozen into hard banks; there are no 
wully wa's to-day. I miss them. One likes to see the 
winter fields so gay. There is the same wind, though; 
that is why the barns are cold. On a still day they are 



cozy, even at this temperature; but cracks! We stuff 
and we putty and we batten ; still they seem to be there. 
... It is something, on days like this, merely to keep 
oneself and the animals alive. For instance, I had this 
morning a death-grapple witK the watering-trough. Ten 
A. M., and a bright sun shining and the blasts of wind 
going through one like daggers. A thirsty circle of 
ponies was behind me ; I hove the ax above my head, and 
I hove, and I hove ; and still my pale-green furrow in the 
ice was dry. Just as I was wondering if the beastly 
thing had frozen clear to the bottom, sloop! and a gout 
of blessed water flew in my face. Ponies ran in under 
my arm, but I had to shoo them away, explaining that in 
a few seconds Missis would have it all beautiful. It was 
more like twenty minutes ; those cakes of ice were worthy 
of the summer iceman; and Missis worked and grunted, 
great, top-heavy cakes slipping off her fork and going, 
plop! back into the heaving water, whence they had to 
be laboriously fished. But they helped the igloo wonder- 

(Oh! Bally Beg is staying in!! I have built a regu- 
lar Eskimo construction over the stone wall, this lovely 
cold snap, and cemented it with shovelfuls of water. It 
is tall and bumpy and light-green and most spectacular, 
and Bally eyes it with awe. He knows that on the hither 
side resides a cold, wet, icicly bath for a small black 
sinner to fall into ; and he has decided to put up, for a 
time at least, with the yard. . . . Now I don't have to 
lose my temper putting him in an unearned palace every 
night. . . . Just like the beastly Bolshevists in Petrograd ! 
only I should lose my temper a good deal worse over 
Bolshevists, I fancy, than over Bally Beg. . . .) 



After the ice-cakes were all out I skimmed the frag- 
ments, bushels of them, and plastered them on the igloo ; 
and then stoo'd proudly aside and let the ponies come. 
They swam their noses liberally round over the clear 
water, and enjoyed it mightily. ... I don't always skim 
it so well as that. . . . 

When I let Cressy out, she came across the yard in 
three leaps; then she trotted clumsily round in a circle, 
shaking first one hind foot and then the other, just as 
we used to do in gymnastic class at recess. Only I don't 
think Cressy did it to take blood away from her brain! 
Her feet were probably screaming, poor dear. She was 
shaking her head, too, and there were bright red rims 
around her eyes. She really looked, for so mild a lady, 
quite dangerous. I persuaded her up to the trough, she 
was in no hurry to drink, this morning, and she put her 
lips most gingerly to the water, wetting them a little, then 
fondly licking her nose to warm it, drawing in great 
whistling breaths exactly as some people do when the 
tea is too hot, and finally beginning to swallow in huge, 
apprehensive swallows. When she had had enough, and 
looked nice and smooth and blown up (after what R. L. S. 
would call "this internal cold aspersion"!), she backed 
away, shaking and twisting her head, jumping angrily 
about, and shivering so terribly that I said, against all 
custom, "Want to come in right now, Cressy?" She 
put down her head, gave a hop and a sort of suppressed 
bellow, as much as to say, "Do I ? ..." and simply flew 
for the door. 

I found an old horse-blanket and put it on her. She 
may decide to make a lunch of it, Cressy adores dry- 
goods, but it will warm her up for a while. 


The horses, too, when let out, were full of tempera- 
ment and "pep," chasing the ponies in every direction 
and hopping great uncouth hops with their fore legs some- 
where up behind their ears. Donlinna had three of her 
heart-felt rolls, one after another, bumping down upon 
the snow with loud groans, agitating wildly back and forth 
with all possible legs in the air, then jumping up with 
a venomous expression, to stretch her nose extravagantly 
out and shake every atom of that unconscionable cold 
snow from her beautiful, glossy, chestnut coat, by gum ! 
. . . And then she wheeled upon Sir Dignity, who was 
sunning himself by the shed door, chased him at top 
speed over the highest salt-rocks, up to the bar-way, 
round the entire circuit of the yard, and back to his shed 
door again. 

Very early, I took them all in. They fell, thankfully, 
upon cold-wave rations of hay, and had a dose of grain 
all round. As for Cressy, I kept her munching all day 
long. It distracts her mind from her troubles, and as 
I pass by she regards me with a touching look of approval. 


Just before chore-time this afternoon, a problem pre- 
sented itself. There was no bread in the house. "That 's 
simple," I said, going blithely into the pantry; and had 
got my corn-bread as far as its moment for baking- 
powder, when, alack, the tin was empty. Here was a 
facer. The sun had set; it was already thirteen below 
zero; my mail was in the box at the corner, and I was 
going after that on snow-shoes ; but, oh, should one have 
to ride all the way to the village, cocked up in a sightly 


saddle, in that sweeping wind, after five teaspoonfuls of 
baking-powder ? 

. "I '11 borrow !" I said firmly. "I '11 go to my neighbor's 
and ask her for that, and ten matches !" For as I knew 
would happen I had forgotten those, too. So Goliath 
and I started, with explosions of rapture on his part, 
and perpetual offer of sticks. I cast them recklessly for 
him into the woods, across the crevasse .of the brook, 
down steep banks, into smothering drifts; and ever he 
gamely returned them or it, rather, the same chewed 
but cherished bit of yellow birch he had first found and 
brought me. No other would do. His face was ab- 
surdly white with snow, his breath coming in gasps, but 
still, dancing before me, he held his treasure pleadingly 
up and departed yelping after it. 

Soon we were being welcomed in my neighbor's kitchen. 
Hot doughnuts were pressed upon us. 

"What do you eat?" she asked compassionately, as 
she packed up my supplies. (Because I am doing a few 
other things up here, besides eat, everybody is very sorry 
for me, and thinks I starve!) "Toast, I suppose and 
coffee " 

"Oh, no I" I broke in proudly. "I have a perfect sys- 
tem . . ." and went on to elaborate. 'My neighbor did 
not seem impressed. She was a very long time making 
up my parcel; and, when it was handed me, it was three 
instead of one. 

"Doughnuts for your breakfast!" she urged, tucking 
them maternally in my pocket. "And this just some hot 
gingerbread for your supper. Put a linle whipped cream 
on it!" she added, smiling. "Is your cow giving a pretty 
good mess of milk now?" 



Out in the beautiful clear afterglow, with the evening 
star gleaming and a bright half-moon silvering the snow, 
we trudged happily home. How kind these people are! 
Those doughnuts they made a beautiful hotness in my 
pocket, all the way up the road. 

Later, when my children were all in bed, the lamps 
lighted, the fires bright, Goliath and Boo and I proceeded 
to celebrate with a hot bacon supper. It smelled heav- 
enly on such a night. The rabbit-pussy had his portion 
in the kitchen. I afterward noticed him sitting upright 
beneaih the warm stove, contentedly washing his face. 
At least, I supposed he was contented ; but in a moment 
he came in, walked to my chair, looked beseechingly up 
at me, and with a sound of dismay, a short "Maw !" sat 
down on the rug and began to wash again. . . . Poor 
boy! It was the bacon. He began with the end of his 
nose, which I thought he would polish out of existence, 
such was his bitter earnest. Round and round went that 
anguished paw, with a shudder of effort as it crossed 
the offending spot ; eighteen strokes I counted, before he 
even reached an eyebrow ! Then the other side was simi- 
larly treated. After the top of his head was reached and 
dealt with, he paused a moment, sighing, then suddenly 
leaped into his chair and started once more on the tip 
of that unfortunate nose! 

"I shall never be clean never 1" * said his despairing, 
little round face, stopping to stare dolorously at me. My 
heart went out to him. 

"Boo !" I cried. "You 're clean ! Come on down and 
see Big Missis I" and with a "Pr-oo !" of relief he came, 
accepting dry bread from my fingers, and strewing the 
rug liberally with crumbs. He felt better after that. 



Bread, he found, is a good eraser; and, planting both 
elbows benignly in my lap, he leaned upon me, and 
purred and beamed. 

I know exactly how he felt. I feel so after one of 
my sporadic attacks of dish-washing, when though I 
don't sit down on the rug and say "Maw!" (which I 
should much like to) I scrub prolongedly with scented 
soap, then lapse into a chair to purge my soul with 
literature. ... I wish I had been brought up to revel 
in dish-water! 

* # * 

January 19. 

To-day Polly and I have ridden miles into another town- 
ship to call on a sick friend. The daughter of the family, 
studying to be a teacher, has developed delicacy of lung 
and must have absolute rest ; so she spends her days on 
a cot by the window, worrying because she is losing time 
at school. 

Conversation, however, which in this family is usually 
free and joyous, was much dampened by the presence 
of another visitor a huge, well-aproned person, knitting 
steadily, who closed a determined mouth and was mono- 
syllabic, eying my riding-clothes with calm disdain. The 
girl's mother seemed ill at ease; she also knitted, but 
spasi&odically, with sudden dartings into the kitchen. 
The girl herself, in her cot, incessantly ruffled the pages 
of the Stevenson I had brought her I have always taken 
such care of that edition ! and looked perversely out of 
the window ; but I plowed in, rehearsing tales that might 
set the invalid's mind traveling a bit telling things very 
badly, scrabbling along, aware always of that judging 



figure in the vast blue apron, with the small, stony eyes, 
the slot of a mouth in the broad face, the thick, busy 
hands. That awful sense of inner blankness which always 
seizes me in the presence of un-understanding, fairly had 
me by the throat ; and after a few efforts I felt myself 
gradually running down declining helplessly upon the 
weather. . . . 

At this the aproned person smiled. She even entered 
the conversation. Weather we had, whooping-cough, the 
pattern of sweater sleeves, gossip, weather again until 
she rose, gathered her knitting, and took majestic leave. 
. . , Blick ! An indefinable lightning seized us, and, turn- 
ing merry eyes upon me, the girl and her mother launched 
into repartee and ease. We absolutely gabbled! The 
pages of Stevenson had no more ruffling. ... 

But I rode away, fuming at myself. Gump! To be 
flattened by an illiterate no, she was n't that but . . . 
just somebody in a huge apron. . . . Ass! And yet I 
absolutely could n't help it. . . . Funny! 

* * * 

January 22. 

Very warm again; the nimble thermometer has leaped 
sixty degrees. The sky is soothingly gray; a few drops 
of rain have fallen. By the feeling, Summer is i-cumen 
in ! and everybody is let down. The ponies are moping in 
the yard ; even busy Donlinna runs up to me to ask what 
the trouble is, and rub her nose irritably on my shoulder. 
. . . Bally Beg's igloo has melted alarmingly, lowering my 
wall of defense; but he has not noticed it yet. Let us 
hope he will not. The watering-trough is unwontedly 
bland,, its, ring of; ice smoothed by warmth, till it looks. 


exactly like a white marble fender we had in my child- 
hood round an English hearth so nice to lay one's cheek 
on ; and my chopping labors were limited to shoveling out 
a few inches of anchor-ice and pasting them on the igloo. 
. . . There is a softness on my path to the barn that 
means woe on the road, and horses slumping in to their 
knees. I am conscious of mail accumulating in the box, 
and an arrears of packages at the stage-driver's. 

For the smash has come. The smash I had feared, on 
the wood-pile; and I have had to wail to neighbors for 
help. Such a come-down! Three evenings ago I was 
clambering across that bodeful mountain with a great arm- 
ful of chunks ; it was a horribly cold night in that wood- 
shed, and I resolved to make one trip of it was wood 
to my chin. Crash! and I was sitting down, clutching 
my enormous armful. With an awful struggle, I got up, 
still clinging to those chunks. . . . Dropping them in the 
wood-box, I leaned there, gasping. A most horrible, tear- 
ing pain somewhere in the middle of one's chest, or just 
below. A rib? A ligament? I sat down, clutching 
it. ... 

In the morning, bent over like an old man, I crept to 
the barn. The pain of getting hay! Fork a little, then 
lean over and gasp. A little more ... a little more. . . . 
And climbing ladders! Pushing through doors with a 
load! Leading high-spirited horses! ... In the house 
once more, I lay down. In the humiliating middle of 
the afternoon I began to make ready for night. Every- 
thing took so long was so slow. . . . For minutes at a 
time I had to lie flat on the hay. In milking, if Cressy 
hadn't let me lean against her when everything went 
black, I should have fallen in the milk-pail, I fancy! 



For I was bound not to have in any help. Bound! 

The next afternoon I had promised my wood-choppers 
to go out to the woods and tell them what more trees 
to cut. They had "got down the dead-wood an' the down- 
wood," and now awaited instructions. (They know how 
terribly fussy we are about having anything cut, in those 
precious woods !) There was a depth of mealy snow ; the 
weather had been too cold to pack it ; and so my snow- 
shoes sank deep. Pulling them out oh! I went pain- 
fully up the slopes. ... In the woods it was worse- 
nothing packs there; one floundered in untold depths. 
Beautiful the laden hemlocks! the snowy stretches 
among the gray trunks ; but, leaning against a friendly 
great beech, I nearly sobbed. Wood-piles were here and 
there ; axes leaning on them ; but no choppers ! I floun- 
dered in all possible directions; I called. No answer. 
And I had come all the way up and it hurt so. ... 

Going home, I fell repeatedly in drifts. There was 
no telling how far in one would plunge. Goliath helped 
all he could with such a worried, snowy face ! On my 
knees in a sudden hollow, I had to laugh and hug him, 
he looked so woebegone. The winter dusk was coming 
down; so without rest, I had to go to the hay-loft and 
prepare for night. . . . That terrible, menacing climb! 
I had forgotten about it. But there it was, facing me 
the high, quaking corner of that untouched precipice of 
hay. Up the ladder, till my head was under the hole in 
the scaffold then how? The top of the mow was level 
with the big scaffold-beam over my head; one couldn't 
crawl beneath the beam, which projected frontward, be- 
cause solid hay was there. Over the beam then! It 
was like surmounting a bulge on a precipice. . . . Dizzi- 


ness began, but I shook it off, staring fiercely at the 
high diamond window, the cobwebs, the swallows' nests 
anything up! ... At last I was flat on my stomach on 
the beam. Wiggle ! and don't look down to the left that 
hideous drop into far blackness ... or behind. . . . At 
last, face down, I fell upon the mow. The corner of 
the precipice. . . . Cautiously for it was quaking be- 
neath me I crawled away . . . and collapsed. 

This morning, when I saw my neighbor's wood-sled, 
and two boys on it, coming plunging through the drifted 
lane, I hobbled out to explain. My voice suddenly be- 
gan, to my great indignation, to shake and I bolted into 
the barn and cried abjecfly on the work harnesses ! The 
boys were so nice, so serious anci commiserating; and 
went about their jobs so earnestly. ... I looked va- 
cantly about. Nothing to do might as well go in; a 
strange feeling at this time of day! So I hobbled along 
to the house ; and, on meeting Gli's ever-sympathetic and 
inquiring wags, sank down on a kitchen chair and wept 
again! The rains descended and the floods came! . . . 
and I should have had a perfectly beautiful time sitting 
there dissolved in tears, except that poor Goliath was 
beside himself with worry, and jabbing frantic kisses at 
the top of my head. So I had to stop and assure him 
all was well. He sat up on his hind legs at that Gli usu- 
ally loathes being on his hind legs and very proudly 
presented me with two paws, one after the other, flinging 
each paw high in the air as he did so. Holding the paws, 
I told him that Missis was going in to sit down a bit, and 
would he come, too? He would, very waggingly; so he 
flumped down on his rug (looking gratefully up at me, 
for no reason whatever!), and I in my chair with a book, 



and the storm-center passed over, and has been heard 
from no more! 

* * # 

January 23, 

The broken-in-two feeling is less noticeable; my kind 
neighbors have been over making everything easy. I have 
ridden Polly at a walk to the corner and back, admiring 
the brook and woods which I hadn't seen for days; and 
now a snow-storm has cleared away to a beautiful soft 
evening, with a great moon rising over the hills, and a 
real scent of spring in the air. I stepped out upon the 
porch, and had an illusion of summer moonlight, with the 
calm blue sky, the balmy air, and the loud sound of the 
little waterfall beyond the orchard. Bare tree-tops, moon- 
lit snow on the hills, told a different story; but Tlooked 
up and felt the summer; and a thrill of longing crept 
over me. . . . 

January 24. 

Sunday. A great peace, a Sabbath calm, is upon us 
this morning. I did n't have strength to mention it last 
night, but all day life in the house had moved to a sound 
of many waters ... at least it grew to be many, before 
night! Early in the morning a gentle chantey from the 
direction of the kitchen was heard ; on opening the door, 
I beheld a busy drip descending faithfully from over- 
head pipes, upon the center of my stove. The stove was 
moist; indeed, rims of rust had already begun to form 
about the pools upon its surface. I fetched an enamel 
bowl from the pantry. 



After breakfast, I Brought a supplementary pail; the 
drip was extending. Later, a tin pan and a wash-tub; 
then a second pail and another bowl! This downpour 
was, as usual, a thing of mystery, arriving from an extinct 
hot- water pipe supposedly disconnected in November T 
After the freeze, I knew connections up above must be 
deranged, had looked with dread for a Niagara; but by 
noon I should have infinitely preferred the downright- 
ness of a Niagara to the Chinese gradualness of this drip. 
How long, at the rate of about twenty-five drips a min- 
ute, would it take to empty a two-barrel tank? For it 
was evidently the tank that was descending on us; mere 
melted pipefuls would have given out long ago. 

I need not have worried. By three o'clock the gentle 
chantey had risen to a fierce splashing which kept one 
hastening to the aid of the dancing contents of agitated 
receptacles. In summer we bemoan the fact that our 
tank holds so little; now, for resource and enthusiasm, 
it might have been the town reservoir itself. Even the 
distant windows were splashed ; and, when I found a mo- 
ment to bolt into my study for relief, the chief charm 
of that useful room seemed to be that it was dry ! Even 
as I opened the door, dryness smote me blessedly; into 
a dry chair I sank, and held dryness a most interesting 
book on War in the East in my hand; too soon, how- 
ever, being obliged to throw it down with the ejaculation, 
" Jiminy ! those pails I" 

The noise, too, was distressing. Plop, plip, plunk, plop 
plinkity-plop, plick, plock. Such a wet noise ! 

At 9 P. M., as I was resignedly wondering how long 
one would have to sit up to hold the hand of the plumb- 
ing, and preparing to dash out and empty things a sud- 



den silence struck me. It was, after previous watery 
tumult, a most loud silence. I opened the door and peered 
unbelievingly in. For the first time that day, one could 
see across the kitchen without looking through splashing 
wet veils. A broad smile crept upon my countenance. 
Though the poor stove had draped itself in an orange 
robe of rust, and rusty pools stood in the worn furrows 
of my historic, hundred-year-old floor, I felt as happy, in 
that eloquent silence, as if the Angel of Peace had passed 
by. . . , Chants and chorals were sounding in that quiet- 
ness ; and, wheeling upon glad heels, I went hastily to bed. 

Mops could wait till to-morrow! 

This morning, I could scarcely believe I should not 
be greeted with deluge it still so rang in my ears; but 
the same silence and rusty pools met me as before; so 
over the dining-room fire I made coffee and crisp, Sun- 
day-morning toast, and felt rewarded for all my troubles. 
What a blessing mere silence is! The sun has come 
warmly out, and a lovely, blue-white-and-gold day is be- 
fore us. 

Friday's paper, at breakfast, was as thrilling as if hot 
off the press; there were more burglaries and government 
scandals than ever. I felt just like burglaries. . . . And 
a nice, kind, million-dollar fire, which hurt nobody, and 
had dramatic ice all over the front of it. At least, of 
its picture. Lovely weather for fires, of late. Ice some- 
how fails to put them out very well. 

And now, though I feel as if I had only begun the 
morning, it is time to feed the cow her dinner. ... It 
always is. Goloshes, my dear! and (for the ten-millionth 
time this winter) put a hat-pin in your hat, for a gale is 
blowing. . . * Run along! 




It is now afternoon, and April-like. A snow-storm has 
just come sliding across one side of our valley; on the 
other, the woods are bright in the sun. Snow-flakes 
whirled up to the edge of the terrace, hesitated, and 
whirled off again, tumbling over stone walls, and tangling 
themselves in the tall, thin lines of trees. Now they are 
swiftly pouring down the valley. A patch of blue sky, 
with films of gray scurrying across it, still hangs over 
the woods. 

A gray squirrel has gone loping below our garden. He 
is on a mission to his pear-tree, in the little orchard. . . . 
Now he is loping back again, with staccato hops, making 
for the big elm where I think he lives. I wonder what 
he finds in that pear-tree; every day I see him making 
a trip there, staying but a brief time, and hurrying back. 
Another favorite parade of his is across the stone wall at 
the bottom of our field a sightly wall, commanding a 
stretch of valley. He makes fine, circular leaps there; 
and he and his bushy tail stand out against the whiteness. 

Alas ! The mountains, that had so nicely vanished, are 
disgustingly clear and blue. The snow-storm has gone 
quite away. We needed it. We need a big one. Our 
snow is tired-looking, not dazzlingly white as it was. Its 
surface is fretted with thaws ; too many rocks stick up ; 
in shallow spots, tufts of brown grass are showing. That 
is positive decadence, for mountain snow; too much like 
the sickly behavior of snow in other places. 

The gray squirrel has come back to the little orchard, 
and is loping intimately, though somewhat aimlessly, 
about. I thought wild animals always had stern and tre- 



mendous purpose in what they do ! But this squirrel goes 
up a pear-tree, journeys out upon a branch, stares round 
him, scratches his ear and slides down again. Not a 
very accomplishing trip. And he has done it dozens of 
times. He did once find something on the snow, and sat 
up executively and ate it; then ambled comfortably out 
under a pearmain-tree and captured a frozen rotten apple 
(a lovely treat) , with which he hopped proudly off ! Gray 
squirrels are rare up here, as rare as their red brothers 
are plentiful. 

Any wild life is the more noticeable just now because 
this has been such a birdless winter. So far, except for 
a sudden storm of chickadees in the terrace cedars, 
somersaulting and dee-dee-dee-mg apparently in the high- 
est of spirits, and accompanied by one very showy wood- 
pecker with a bright scarlet head, which storm passed 
away into the orchard and has not been seen since! I 
have noted exactly one small brown bird. This speci- 
men, a sparrowish-looking individual, was extremely 
busy for a few hours between the hay barn and an elder- 
berry-bush by the wall ; but even he has disappeared, and 
I begin to feel that something has gobbled all our little 
friends. Or perhaps they haven't yet come down from 
the north ! Usually we have social flocks of juncos peck- 
ing about, snow-birds swooping over the drifts, and once 
a flqpk of the rare, fugitive, Bohemian waxwings. At 
the head of our mowing lane is a wild cherry-tree, and, as 
we approached it I exclaimed, noting an unusual appear- 
ance in its upper branches, "See the leaves still left on that 

ch 1" and stopped short. It was birds! Twirling 

thickly about, just like cherry-leaves in a wind; coming 
nearer, we saw their crested heads, the yellow and white 


on their wings. They seemed tame, making queer soft 
sounds at each other, like "Hush hush!" and forever 
shifting and jumping about on their twigs. The bird- 
book remarked they had a habit of "appearing where least 
expected, and utterly deserting other places where they 
are usually found," and so we stared at them devoutly. 
It was well we did. We have never seen one since ! . . . 
Ha ! At dusk, the snow-storm caught us again with a 
wild whirl, pouring down in blinding floods between my 
window and the orchard. For some moments Goliath had 
been sneezing, wagging, making pretty-bows, and other- 
wise uneasily suggesting that his Missis would better go 
get in horses, instead of staring out of the window; but 
I could not help wondering whimsically whether one would 
lose one's way, as in Western blizzards, and sink down, 
lost, ten feet from the door ! The horses were all a-thrill 
with the whistle of the storm; I just had time to flatten 
myself against the pig house wall, and they came charging 
excitedly in, the three that belong in the lower stable 
seeming especially hectic. Instead of going orderly along 
toward the door as usual, Dolly rushed into Donlinna's 
stall, and, on poor Donlinna's inserting a suggestive shoul- 
der, kicked out at her; Donlinna fell hysterically back- 
ward upon the grain-chest, caroming into the Maharajah, 
who reared and fell down upon Polly, who in turn re- 
treated violently and mashed a file of ponies innocently 
advancing behind her ; and for a helpless moment I could 
only stand and bellow calming remarks, with the long, 
narrow barn one flashing melee of heads, manes, and 
whirling forms, while a rush of frightened ponies bur- 
rowed frantically under my arm, crying, "For heaven's 
sake, let us out of this !" 


Inserting myself delicately among agitated hocks and 
tails, I made my way to the front door, murmuring: "So, 
Polly! Whoa, Pud! It's only me, Donlinna darling!" 
at last managing to open it, and steer a wildly breathing 
trio of invaders out into the snow. Then I ran back to 
reassure the rightful inhabitants. Donlinna's sides were 
heaving, her eyes flashing, but she lifted her beautiful 
head and followed me, breathing a sigh of relief to find 
herself in her own stall. 

"Darling Donny!" I cried, hugging her, "a shame, to 
knock her over like that!" whereat, fairly whimpering 
with solicitude, she allowed me to examine all her legs. 
She had punched a hole in the lid of the grain-chest with 
one of them, but not a scratch was visible. Any other 
horse but a Morgan would have been badly hurt. With 
a final kiss on her worried nose, I hastened away to con- 
sole Elizabeth. The eyes of that baby ! They were ringed 
with terrified white ; and it took a whole course of sooth- 
ing, supper, and blandishments before they were restored 
to anything like calm. Even then, she clung closely to 
her mother; there was no wandering away for a little so- 
cial nibble of hay with Queen or Sunny; and whenever 
a pail dropped to the floor, or any loud sound occurred, 
Elizabeth jumped and gasped. Our young nerves had 
been badly shaken ! 

The tumult having ceased, I was pushing my way out 
of the rear door with hay for the yard ponies, when 
ye gods, the full moon! Its light took me in the face, 
and for a moment I could only blink. I had thought it 
was snowing hard ! But there, in a clear dark-blue streak 
under the illuminated, dusty tail of the storm, the moon 
had come up over .the knoll, which stood up sharp and 



black. The lane glittered, a path of twisting silver ; wully 
wa's frisked and smoked across the hills, and a fringe 
of beautiful gold-brown dust was flung upon the cloud, 
which hung above that belt of blue and the golden crea- 
ture rising in it. 

I stood, staring, till several impatient pulls, as of a hun- 
gry fish, at my load, recalled me, when with grunts of 
"Get out ! Go 'long !" to my scampering escort, I made 
my way across the yard. Never before had one seen a 
full moon thus on the tail of a snow-storm ; and, before 
we had reached the pony house, swoop! came a great gust, 
a mop of angry cloud blotted over, and the lane was black 

The last glimpse, near midnight, I had of that impulsive 
moon, was of her plunging into masses of creamy-colored 
cloud, out again into vivid blue, while below moon-spots 
scudded across snowy hills and valleys. Often, patches 
of woods lay black beside strips of flying silver ; and, for 
a wonderful moment, the entire landscape was dark save 
for one lone hill, which shone out brilliant above the 
gloom. Some one, I thought, should have stood on it, 
and preached to the flying, shadowy world. And I trudged 
up-stairs with my bedroom candle, murmuring, "... I 
heard a sound as of a silver horn on all the hills . . ." 
Indeed, a night for the Holy Grail ! . . . 

January 25. 

Again the uncertain thirties have yielded to a solid zero, 
and the world is a-crack with cold. Even my bed seemed 
a shivery spot this morning; so by a pale, surreptitious 
sunrise I was already down, shuddering, and poking at 


the fire. But there is something tangible to combat in 
the intense touch of the bitter wind ; and combat is good 
for the soul. One grows dreary, with the steady un- 
eventful tug of foolish physical difficulties of forever 
calculating physical puzzles: how to chop the thick ice 
out of the trough without using that absurd frontispiece ; 
how to throw down the daily hay, carry in wood, and 
transport Kim's buckets of water, and still avoid, as I 'm 
told to do, the lifting of any weights ! 

These have been very real problems ; and, though I have 
tried to obliterate them with moons, skies, Elizabeth, and 
other delightful appurtenances of farm life, sometimes 
these charms seem, to my dismay, to be wearing a little 
thin. There was even one horrid moment when, on 
issuing with an unwisely heavy load from the cow barn 
door, I found myself looking coldly upon that vision of 
the moon-lit lane with its glitters, its crooked fence, its 
blown, etched-in-purple trees, which usually stirs me to 
the heart. Appalled, I made my way soberly back. If 
these things fail me in my little private war here, a war 
against fatigue, pain, and the pull of a long solitude, it 
will be asking a great deal of my other resources Bab's 
letters, literature, and an occasional, brave, and shivering 
friend to see me through! 

But it is a war; and that thought makes one's very 
nerves brustle up, responding to well-remembered stimu- 
lus. (What impossible things we all did do that winter 
of real war!) The joy of this life is to be strong to 
stride off for miles on a snowy tramp, leap into one's 
saddle for a gallop, handle wild steeds by agility and the 
foretop only! Deprived of these gaieties, and dragging 
painfully around on mere routine, my war, I see is to 



become a real one. Everything one does here seems to 
take such a lot of what Kipling calls "essential guts" ; and 
I have so few left. . . . 

Fifteen below zero, however, is a help, and gives a 
thrill to things. Hooray for the north pole ! I had to put 
that blanket on Cressy this morning, and must remember 
to run out and see whether she is eating it. A little dry- 
goods does n't matter a saddle-pad, or a surcingle ; she 
digests those without harm; but a whole blanket, bright- 
red bindings and all, might be rather much. Would she 
give pink milk, I wonder. Pink milk, with safety-pins 
in it? 

* * # 


My supplies are getting amusingly low, for the reason 
that I simply had not heart to ask my kind neighbors, 
in the face of this arctic blast, to make the trip to the 
village. There happened to be bread enough; thanks to 
my shivering Cressy (who had started on the blanket), 
there is invariably milk, and its by-products; prunes I 
seem to have always with me, and sugar and coffee. Also 
two lone eggs, which I assured myself would be enough 
for dinner. But in peering about my icy pantry I came 
upon a find: rice, boiled when I last had any domestic 
energy, and now preservatively frozen solid and veal 
steak, also in a stiffly glacial condition. 

Joyfully, therefore, I put the rice on to melt, the veal 
steak to re-broil. I don't know why, but there is always 
an extra savor about food that has been frozen. Frozen 
bread, thawed, is far better than new ; and then there is 
the moral satisfaction of salvage of discovering riches 
where apparently all was bare. ... So with a pot of 


Russian tea, and a slice of providentially unfrozen lemon, 
I sat down to an excellent, even a recherche, meal. Oh, 
the vividness of fresh country veal, broiled (or re- 
broiled!) over scarlet wood-coals! 

Meals, however earnestly one may try to ignore them, 
are cheering. (I am quite sure now that the absurd fron- 
tispiece will mend itself automatically!) Boo-boo has 
added to my optimism by sitting faithfully by my chair, 
loudly wheezing. He had not been fed, but was living 
over that moment in expectation; sometimes he pulled 
ever so gently at my hand. He and Goliath are very 
touchingly devoted, these days of close association; and 
Boo has learned to be amusingly discriminating on laps. 
Hoisting himself on hind legs, he peers delicately over. 
"Pr-oo? Skirts to-night?" he inquires, with the fun- 
niest, scrutinizing expression in his round, yellow eyes. 
If inspection is satisfactory, "Pr-ow! ... All right !" he 
concludes, and jumps up, settling himself thankfully down 
while, from mere glee, I ruffle all his impudent hair 
the wrong way. If it had been a trouser-lap he would n't 
have come. No, indeed. He descends, with a sad and 
baffled look; stalks over to his tapestried chair, eying me, 
meanwhile, with melancholy. And I shake with mirth. 
These cat-comments on one's apparel! 

Such passionate sleeping as does go on in the eve- 
ning! Boo with his whiskers twitching; Goliath with 
his legs stretched out stiffly, and his head close to my 
foot-stool an article very necessary in this old house, 
where three inches of solid cold can be relied on, nearest 
the floor. Last night, the foot-stool made a loud scrape, 
and Gli started nervously up. I smiled at him; at once 
his face cleared, and, wagging an apologetic tail, he lay 


down again, looking up with an expression of devoted 
confidence. We had told each other a great deal in 
those two looks. . . . 

A dog with whom one has such moments ceases to 
be a dog; he is an individual, lifted to real intimacy. 
When sudden sounds interrupt our peaceful evenings 
a thundering of pony feet, perhaps, where no pony 
feet should be, "Did you hear that, boy?'* I ask; and for 
an instant we stare into each other's eyes. Then we rush 
unitedly to the door. Goliath whimpers behind me with 
feverish zeal can hardly wait for the door to be opened 
and together we go into the night. Sometimes it is 
"Drive 'em, boy!" and a hullabaloo of wild barks and 
scuttling hoofs; more often we come resultlessly back, 
looking into each other's baffled faces. . . . "Did n't see 
anything, did you?" And I resume my book, and the 
collie his ever-adjustable nap, with one more bond, one 
more shared worry, between us. For that dog does 
worry. I see it in his eyes; and anybody that is sweet 
enough to worry with you why, there are few people 
in the world one counts upon for that ! 

* * * 

January 28. 

A series of letters have been coming from the South, 
with pressed flowers falling out of them. Violets, a 
creamy Cherokee rose, a spray of yellow jasmine, fresh- 
colored and fragrant they give one longings to go where 
they grow ; the banks of the St. John's. I long for the 
river walk a winding pink path, under enormous live- 
oaks whose streaming mosses, at sunset, sway like live 
flames; where the rough-barked pitch-pines, their heads 


almost in the clouds, are bright with golden jasmine, and 
the scarlet of the trumpet-vine peers from the snow-white 
bloom of a wild plum. From across the pale-blue stream 
blows an ineffable scent orange-groves in blossom on the 
other shore ! It seems to pour in at you with the sunlight 
dazzling up into the cool wood-shadows from the blue and 
yellow of the shore. 

At any turn appear conversational pigs half-wild crea- 
tures of all sizes, from the grunting mama, to babies who 
can run like deer, and are spotted with guinea-pig colors ; 
at sight of you, they dive shrieking into the forest, or 
downward to the sheltering, brown-kneed cypress-stumps 
of the river-edge. Overhead, cardinal-birds perch on gray 
pine-boughs that frame their vividness, as they divinely 
"sweetheart" at you; and always the open forest, astir 
with mystery, stretches away pale-brown under oak limbs 
that are but a garden for ferns. 

The plantation, with its while-pillared house, wide 
lawns sloping to a great sweep of the river, and quaint 
darky servants, the oldest of whom had once been 
slaves upon this very spot, had about it a sweetness of 
the old South; an unworldly, gracious charm. I can smell 
those Cherokee roses now, and that wet scent of Spanish 
moss after rain; the wild phlox that reddened the blow- 
ing grass, and the whiffs from the kumquat orchard just 
over the white, jasmine-hung walls of the swimming-pool 
that sparkling pool, like aquamarine under the sunlight, 
rippled with shadows from oak-boughs overhead. Before 
days of swimming-pools, one swam in the brown water at 
the end of the wharf, meanwhile waving a stick at atten- 
tive alligators who fled, I am told, abjectly. But the 
coffee-brown water brown as demi-tasse, though only 


coming from cypress-roots, and from recruiting miles of 
deep, black, silent swamp-acres, pink with wild azalea 
was not pretty enough for Northern tastes ; it needed too 
much explaining ; and now every one shudders at the idea 
of plunging into that alligatory stream. 

It looked harmless enough to us ; Babs, being then at 
the paddling age, paddled, industriously in its yellow 
verge, where appeared nothing more alarming than flying- 
fish, pigs, or deep-sea Floridian cattle, grazing on weeds 
with their heads far under water; and I set up an easel 
on the sands below the tall banks, with a row of baby 
cypresses for models, and a mad, tropic light glinting up 
at them from the water. They had lovely, Arthur Rack- 
ham knees, brown and hobgobliny ; and one day as I was 
seated there in front of an old stump, working 
frenziedly under my white umbrella, something behind 
me said "Ah-h-hh !" very softly. A pleasant, hushy voice, 
much like the breath of wind in a pine-bough; but I 
whirled abruptly round. Voices of any sort were rare 
in those parts. Just at the foot of my camp-stool was a 
fat coil of snake ; in its midst stuck up a flat, broad head. 
The air of the creature was leisurely; but I was sitting 
in his front yard ; it was evident that one or the other of 
us must go. His expression was, to say the least, inquir- 
ing; but finish my cypresses I must. I looked wildly 
around. Stones there were none I might have run to 
Georgia to find one; but near me lay chunks of tough, 
clayey, black sod, dried hard by the sun, that had rolled 
down from the bank. Seizing one, I slammed it prayer- 
fully down. To my astonishment, the creature collapsed ; 
he undid himself ; his head was under my brick ! 

Greatly fearing he would come to, I feverishly un- 



jointed my umbrella, and with much distaste, and the 
brass-shod point, hove the dangling thing into the St. 
John's. He sank. ... A small craft of river-hyacinth 
sailing down-stream, with its glossy, green mains'l 
trimmed to the breeze, rocked a little as it passed. The 
sole requiem of my spreading adder ! I felt a little sorry. 
It had been nice of him to give me time to find a brick. 
Soberly rejointing the umbrella, I set to work on 
cypresses again. 

Many things I have tried to do, with many lights upon 
them dunes and marshes and snow-scenes and harbor- 
dawns ; but never anything so lovely and so maddening as 
those streams of moss under sunset. I spent many days 
by one particular tree, a noble tree with a hundred- foot 
spread of limbs, on which grew a flourishing tree-garden 
of hardy ferns. It was far out the river walk, and the 
pigs grew to know me. But pigs did n't matter or ferns, 
or the oak-tree; those baffling, soft, yet brilliant streamers 
swayed with the wind, each one holding itself differently 
to the light a last, low flame ; and the moss, ghost-gray 
by day, at this hour went rose and crimson and fire-gold, 
sometimes shifting back into ghostliness again. At mo- 
ments, however, it flamed ; and that flaming instant I was 
bound to catch. . . . 

Working in guache, too! An unflame-like medium. 
Several times the bath-tub had received that panel, reduc- 
ing its sins to wan and pleasant ghosts ; and sometimes as 
I hurried homeward, grasping it, through twilight woods, 
where "white ladies" were not supposed to linger, I 
cast a threatening eye on that larger bath-tub, gleaming 
through the trees! ... If I didn't get that" light right 
pretty soon ! . . . But at the very last of my patience a 



sudden flick or two of the brush, quite casual, as success- 
ful things often are, seemed to do it. And I had fully 
expected to watch that panel on its way to Jacksonville ! 

I was unusually late that night. Dusk had almost 
fallen. Glancing apprehensively about as I gathered my 
things, I caught the sound of soft trampling in the bushes 
near by; my blood suddenly chilled* (They do tell one 
such bugaboo stories, to warn one out of the woods!) 
The rustling drew nearer; I stood stupidly transfixed, 
clasping my camp-stool ; in an instant, a dark head thrust 
itself through the branches, and a great red bull was eying 
me! Then with a snort he went crashing off. Florida 
bulls are simple souls; they roam the woods unfettered; 
harmless, because free. But, for the fright this one gave 
me, he might have been ten thousand villains with guns I 

Another day, when I was harmlessly doing plum-blos- 
soms, snow-drifts of them, against gray and brown 
woods, again a rustling in near-by shrubs interfered 
with concentration. (One somehow felt nervous in those 
woods. Up North, things can rustle if they want to!) 
Was it a grazing beast ? Grazing, however, was not good ; 
pig-acorns there were not, nor hanging moss for cattle; 
and the wretched rustling grew gradually, softly, nearer. 
I was just grasping my camp-stool to rise to find out what 
it was, when another head poked through the leaves this 
time the bowing, smiling head of Thomas, our good old 
darky butler, with his gray wool, his blue jumper, and his 
arms full of lilies, orchids, and jasmine. Thomas always 
arranged the flowers, and did it with flawless taste. I was 
very glad to see Thomas. We had a brief, floral conver- 
sation ; then, taking a gracious, smiling leave, he hurried 
away (Thomas had the manners of a prince), and I 


turned to my work, resolved, after that, to let rustlings 
rustle if they would. One bull, one butler, one kind- 
hearted snake my list of horrors in the South! . . . 
Away from the river, I loved the other water-scenes: 
wild pigs splashing through pools among the palmettos, 
the slim head of a moccasin swimming across. Those 
moccasins swam Black Creek as easily as they did a 
puddle in the woods, and Black Creek is a serious stream, 
black and silent and of unknown depth, that wound away 
through watery forests you couldn't land in them; 
you 'd splash ! and unending swamps. If the river walk 
was a trifle spooky, Black Creek with its darkly winding 
tributaries, choked with hyacinth, was spookiness itself. 
It was positively worth painting, so bodeful it was, and 
hushed, and weird. Frivolous pink azalea hung over it in 
the spring but over a black shining of water. Even the 
hoarse cry of a fish-hawk, sweeping his gray wings along 
the stream, or poising on the dead limb of a cypress, 
sounded ominous; and always, bordering these silent 
streams, loomed glossy acres of hyacinth, blotting, blot- 
ting as it went. 

So up here in our frosty world of silver and brown 
and blue, with crusted hills that glitter under the sun, I 
like to think of these wanner things ; these colors, yellow 
and rose and mauve, that come to me with the dropping 
of a spray of flattened jasmine out of an envelope ! Have 
I not seen that jasmine swarming to heaven up a high 
pitch-pine ? Have I not scented it far away, and found it 
by its fragrance? 

Everything looks so much more beautiful here now! 
One has been up Black Creek. Been in blossoms. And 


just now, as I glanced out, Boo-boo looked perfectly 
heavenly sitting on a gray stone. One had forgotten just 
how lovely a yellow thing in a snow landscape is. 

William James mentions the desirability of sometimes 
going round the block a different way or of putting the 
left foot, instead of the right, into one's trouser-leg first ; 
just so, in this life among beasts and drifts, I find it need- 
ful to study variety. Of late I have studied it very hard. 
I have a supper-scheme that works gloriously. When I 
come in, tired, from the barn, at six o'clock, I lay a pretty 
table, set out food that waiting won't hurt, and stow hot 
things in the oven. Then I fly up-stairs. Descending in 
all the glory of brushed hair, slippers, and a fresh blouse, 
I let myself fastidiously into the dining-room. Glanc- 
ing at the table, I murmur, with surprised eyebrows, "Oh ! 
she has forgotten to put on the the truffles 1" or what- 
ever the pitce de resistance may be; and step delicately 
out and pluck it from the oven. I then make the most 
serene of teas ; and rise with a grand feeling. 

It actually does me good all up and down my spine, 
that device. I feel rested "dear through." 

What infants we all are! 

* * * 

January 30. 

Sunday. This morning, I did a sinful thing. I dozed ! 
Waking in grayness, with snow-flakes blotting out all cal- 
culations as to sunrise, I turned over and went to sleep ; 
and nothing but a dream of my dear dog's being in danger, 
and barking violently in a queer canon made of cliffs and 
tall houses, roused me. I started guiltily up ; those snow- 



flakes were descending upon broad morning; and when 
at last, at the fearful hour of nine, I opened the door of 
a scandalized barn, what a chorus greeted me ! 

Elizabeth and Queen had evidently been playing de- 
spairing ball with my milk-stool. It was across the aisle, 
upside down, with an injured expression. Elizabeth her- 
self, also, was standing across the aisle, gazing at me 
under her growing shock of silver foretop. A little whin- 
ner came from her. Seizing a fork, I gave one brief pat 
to Donny en passant who hopped exasperatedly in the 
air, then began to hammer on her wooden window. 
Cressy, stretching a moist nose, breathed a loud 
"Wh-hooo !" while Superb curved her neck in a despera- 
tion of pawing. 

I was so glad when they were all safely chewing. One 
feels a beast to keep them waiting. They don't know 
what "Sunday feelings" are! I wish I could tell them. 
It must be horrid to have all days alike. And not to know 
things. . . . Just think; they can't worry about Europe! 
. . . They don't know there is a Europe. They don't 
even know this farm is in America or that it 's a farm 
or that they are on it for anything in particular; oh, 
dear ! one gets quite desperate, thinking down and down 
into all the things they don't know. 

I don't wonder they are excited over food; that they 
chew fences. If my mental world were as empty as 
theirs, I should not only chew, I should assault every- 
thing in sight, and get out, and run and run and run till 
I found something different ! . . . 

It is warm again, and snowing. Both are soothing to 
one's spirit. The thing one resents about winter is its 
inactivity; the perpetual sameness of ice-armored hills 



and snow-blanketed woods. Great things, of course, may 
be going on underneath; but nature wears a mask, is icily 
non-committal. 'Moons shine, and suns ; they shine on a 
dead world. There is no life but in the swing of the 
winds, the mad dance of wully wa's, the arrival of still 
more snow. And that is why, I suppose, one so delights 
in these activities of the air ; why tracks in the snow are 
precious beyond words; why the note of a bird is an 
event. . . . They mean life. My heart leaps up when I 
behold a chickadee on a twig! A rainbow, I think, 
would leave me comparatively cold. One has plenty of 
things in the sky. One wants something nearer. My 
whole being warms to tiny mouse-traces under the hem- 
locks by the brook ; to the serious leapings, the clutter of 
little ideas scattered beneath some fruitful, brown-seeded 
tree; to anything alive and busy. Seed catalogues 
which console some people at this season are all very 
well ; so are printed visions of any kind ; but I love better 
nature's own premonitions of life green cones torn to 
bits beneath a great, dark, pitch-smelling spruce ; a bit of 
earthy bank melted in the sun, with yellow roots sticking 
.out, white stones caught in the roots, and gray lichen 
hanging over the edge. . . . 

But the fall of the snow is something. It sent me to 
sleep this morning. Fall, snow ! whiten the trees ! shroud 
my dutiful footsteps, all the same size, I am so tired of 
seeing out to the barn and back, out to the yard, the 
corn-crib, the trough, the sheds, and ever virtuously back. 
Snow hard and deep ; I will go out and make fresh ones 
in you. Bold, adventurous, new ones. Boo-boo and 
Goliath and Cressy and the ponies will make new ones. 
Then snow some more, I pray you, before those are old ! 



January 31. 

An exquisite morning, blue and golden and warm. 
Soft, fluffy whiteness is everywhere. Everything is cov- 
ered, rocks, trees, walls. ... A morning to make one 
abashed at one's mood of yesterday. I think it was the 
glitter of the hills I was so tired of; one does tire of 
glitter, and these new, soft fields are a joy. One revels in 
their beauty. I haven't really reveled for an age. . . . 
Necessity has allowed me, of late, the half-mile walk to 
our mail-box ; a ducky half-mile that winds down through 
woods, wood-fragrance, sweet wood-silence, and a brook. 
There are hemlocks and big yellow birches and white ones. 
After leaving the woods, the road curves past leafy banks 
there is such an adorable one, all moss and roots and 
gravel, sheltered by spruce-branches, and newly melted! 
So nice of it to have melted this very morning. It dripped 
as I passed. The wet roots were a bright orange. 

I noticed, too, a flash of color in one of the birches, and 
there were three woodpeckers, with scarlet bars on their 
heads, pecking socially at the white bark, running agilely 
round and round, and giving out little happy notes of 
satisfaction. My sparrowish-looking bird was with them ; 
and, in the branches of the next birch, two chickadees 
the second I have seen all winter were also extremely 
busy, whirling, twirking their small tails, casting vivacious 
glances everywhere at once. "Dee-dee-dee!" remarked 
one of them, catching sight of my motionless figure in the 
road. "Dee!" responded the other; and they flew to a 
tree directly over my head. There they alternately picked 
at buds and coquetted downward at me till one of the 
woodpeckers, a spruce, handsome fellow with highly- 



spotted wings and a head of splendid bright color, flew 
into the same tree ; whereat they flitted away. That wood- 
pecker was as unafraid as they, and went energetically on 
with his hammering only a few feet from my upturned 
face. As he clung, I could see his eye turn in its socket ; 
the exquisite, almost invisible melting of one pearly body- 
feather into another; the strenuous toes and braced tail; 
the rapid flexing of the slim neck, and the slight resultant 
disturbance in the patch of smooth scarlet feathers across 
the head. It was a tense moment ; I felt as if I had him in 
my hands ; and, when he flitted into a gray-green poplar 
on the other side of the road, I found myself drawing a 
needed breath. These birds had done me more good than 
Florida ! The glow of summer was about ; and the warm 
sun, putting a wash of gold on the spruces, seemed to be 
visibly pulling out the buds of birch and willow. The 
swamp-willow shoots were surely more orange and crim- 
son than the day before ; while the wimpling and burbling 
of the brook had the sweetness of a morning in May. 

* * # 


I can make "sour-dough" bread ! And the last impedi- 
ment between us and life in the wildest of wild Wests is 
removed. Hooray! 

It happened by accident. I was out of everything ; the 
roads were fearful; if one could only exist till another 
morning without making that dreaded trip. With all her 
trained delicacy of motion, Polly does shake me unbear- 
ably going down the pitches ; and in this deep snow it is 
too wallowy to walk far. Bother frontispieces, anyway! 

Coming in late from the barn. I looked round the 


shelves. Eggs fine! Into the kettle went two. I 
flapped up the lid of the bread-box then remembered 
that I had given Goliath my last half-loaf, that morning. 
. . . My eggs were almost done. A breadless egg is to 
me one of the impossibilities and then, upon my per- 
plexity, flashed the thought of cowboy cooks squatting 
over a fire in the resourceless desert, and turning out de- 
licious hot bread from the instantaneous frying-pan ! . . . 
I would run a race with my eggs! I had only the re- 
motest idea how to make it, but I fairly dived into the 
flour-tub, whirled up a sticky mass, flung it, shapelessly, 
into the greased hot pan (all Western novels tell you about 
that!), clapped a cover on it, and set it over the reddest 
part of the fire. In an instant arose a slight aroma of 
burning; hilariously I flung off the cover, and flapped 
over my bread. Good gracious it almost looked as if it 
was going to be good. One had n't expected that! 

Out came the eggs, and were perched in their blue 
egg-cup on the shelf of the stove. Hurry up, bread ! A 
second odor of burning greeted me ; I reversed the pan, 
and flapped out upon the waiting plate a roll of some- 
thing; something that had puffed up hot and light that 
smelled excessively good! Cocoa, eggs, jam and this 
toothsome product, white as sea-foam under a somewhat 
charred exterior how do cowboys do it without scorch- 
ing, if the pan has to be so blazing hot? 

Otherwise, it could hardly have been better; especially 
as it was being eaten, not in a lamp-lit room, but far away 
under the stars to the tang of desert air, the sharp fra- 
grance of the sage, the glow of a dying fire, the crunch and 
stamp of beloved horses near by. ... Our dream ! And 
some day we shall do it, Babs and I. No cowboys along, 



to look after horses and shoot rattlers and do all the really 
interesting things for now I can make sour-dough bread ! 
And above that significant roll on the blue plate, above 
dishes and silver and all that makes for sophistication and 
being bored, I grinned with triumph. . . . 

February n. 

Back again to my winter etchings. It seemed, after all, 
wise to take the erring frontispiece to town, so for ten 
days I have been in the city. Frontispiece stood it like a 
lamb. The worst thing about the city nowadays, one 
finds, is the gasolene exhausts ! Passing cars throw out 
clouds of blue, just as lovely a blue as my morning wood- 
smoke, but vile-odored and poisonous. Who wants to 
practise deep breathing after such a dose as that? 

How I missed my hay ! I had thought I should be glad 
of a rest from it but was gladder when I came back, 
lifted the green, sweet-smelling bundles once more, and 
stalked proudly about with them. All the good barn- 
smells were delicious.. And the fresh morning scents ; 
smoke of my wood-fire, toast before the blaze, the clean, 
outdoor smell of Boo-boo's wholesome fur, of Donlinna's 
warm, glossy neck. Warm noon odors wet things 
steaming in the sun; even the cold smell of sunset that 
night spreads so suddenly over a snowy world all sweet, 
all breathable and dear. 

But the noise and grime of town held the dark eyes of 
my child, glowing bravely through it all ; and the faces of 
friends, kinder than ever, unquenchably cordial in the 
midst of the tumult in which they live. Town sucks me 
up after a while ; my smile grows wan ; but these valiant 



spirits could still beam upon one. Perhaps they have 
forgotten that there is any other way of living any 
sweeter place, than that discordant city. ... And yet, 
strangely enough, its noise did not trouble me. I liked it. 
It seemed all a part of the cordiality, the alertness, one 
finds there. Trolleys roared and bing-banged along their 
appointed ways, trucks hooted, traffic boomed; but, bar- 
ring a wince or two, I found myself hastening quite gaily 
through it all. There was a step beside me that was the 
secret; a buoyant young stride with which it is second 
nature to keep pace, and to whose rhythm one could face 
anything! With a triumphal tread we trod the six 
boards of our pet Garden paths two boards apiece, and 
two to spare if you meet somebody. If you meet two 
somebodies, swing in behind your child, child steps on 
ahead, and you rejoin her again; just as we do on horse- 
back when we meet anything. The horses are perfectly 
automatic about it; Babs's horse shoots ahead, my Polly 
falls in in the rear, the thing passes, and Polly darts to 
her place again. Nothing like a system. And it has 
saved us in more than one "Bam-tight" place as the Babu 
would call it. Even on the uneventful Garden boards, 
however, dam-tight moments have not been lacking; nar- 
rowly have we escaped being shoved into the mud by rude 
or hasty passers. But the system saves us ! 

Then we swing grandly along, in step once more ; to the 
Esplanade for a sunset, across the Common to watch the 
lights come out through the blue dusk of the trees ; then 
to dine. Dinner in houses, in the feminine clubs with 
which Boston abounds, in literary garrets all bent ceilings 
and ink. I think we really liked those dinners best. 
Et ego I also have worked under bent ceilings, and 



dodged their jutting corners; inconvenient they may be, 
but there is an atmosphere about them. . . . 

After dinner we tried hard to remember such things as 
school, and lessons, and early bed; but those Garden 
boards led so easily to theaters, and symphonies where 
one could watch a baton really fall, and hear, not dream, 
the divinity to follow that English J and Science S and 
other daily perturbations of my child's normal life fell 
somewhat in arrears. It was for nothing more frivolous 
than a literary lecture, however, that I put off for one day 
my return to the farm ; as with B'rer B'ar in the persim- 
mon-tree, it was a case of "jes' one 'simmon mo', and den 
I '11 go" ; so that was why I came home in a thick snow- 
storm seven wet, blinding miles of sticky snow a foot 
deep, through which poor Dolly wallowed. There was ice 
under the snow ; three times Dolly fell flat. A headache, 
which had fluttered about me, thereupon came on in great 
surges; everything else grew vague, remote. . . . 

Though fires were lighted, the house seemed airless, 
desolate. I stared ruefully at my changed abode. How 
empty it seemed ; how silent and meaningless ! Why come 
back? why not stay with one's beloved with lights and 
voices and cheerful greetings? , . . Flick! as if in re- 
buke, went the chimney of my reading-lamp. Grievedly 
I inspected it. The crack just stopped short of a com- 
plete circle. "Perhaps it won't break !" I murmured ; and 
delicately adjusted it. Seven miles from a new chimney ! 
And I tiptoed about, expecting every moment a crash. 
If it did blow up and set things on fire, could I put it out? 
In a story I once read, the hero and heroine put out miles 
of prairie fire by banging it with wet sacks. I had the 
sacks, but not much to wet them in. A dribble from the 



spring pipe! And I moved worriedly about, trying to 
arrange my dear house so it would look more familiar. 
Why, in ten days, should it have so changed? ... A 
great wave of headache answered, sending me reeling 
into an easy-chair, where I smiled weakly at these in- 
fidelities. "Wait a bit!" I advised my rebelling soul. 
"Just wait till to-morrow morning I" 

Boo-boo helped. He had been touchingly enthusiastic 
about my coming back, leaping down the drive through a 
foot of new snow to meet me ; and ever since he has been 
rushing and pr-ooing round in great self-congratulation. 
Every few minutes he pops up at his window to be let in, 
and at tea-time outdid himself in devices for attracting 
notice. He played madly with nothing at all ; he clutched 
me with imploring claws ; with loud proos, he dashed up- 
stairs and down again as fast; he coquetted with his 
reflection in a mirror; and at last, with a final note of 
appeal, vaulted upon a pile of typewriter paper on my 
desk, stuck his head forward, and peered at me with such 
a look of anxious affection that I burst into shouts of 
mirth, and Goliath had to get up from his corner to see 
what it was all about. 

* * * 

February 12. 

A glorious morning, headache gone, the house looking 
itself again. It is Lincoln's birthday ; but so lovely with 
glistening fresh snow and blue skies that I quite forgot 
what day it was. Up here, in fact, the year sails placidly 
by ; except for pranks and bell-ringing at Hallowe'en, and 
distant community doings on the Fourth, holidays seem 
virtually non-existent. Last Thanksgiving my neighbors 



were furiously drawing wood; on Christmas day they 
were equally preoccupied. Time, especially team-time, is 
precious. Work horses need rest in winter, but not too 
much, or they "get soft," and, besides, are "wasting feed. 5 ' 
As the long winter wears on, that question becomes a 
tragic one on many a farm. "Hay lastin' pretty good?" 
one hears; and the depressed reply, "Naw. . . . Got to 
buy before turnin'-out time." 

This is the season, in fact, when, with all the affection 
in the world, one becomes a trifle tried with the perpetual 
appetites of one's dearly-beloveds in the barn. Never 
satisfied! Always reaching for more, delving for stray 
spears as if they were gold-mines. In summer they have 
other interests ; they grow shiny new coats, they bring up 
babies, they play and frolic, they smash fences; but in 
winter they eat. As one leads them through the stable, 
they stop abruptly to salvage treasure such as a solitary 
straw beneath their feet, thereby jerking the halter from 
one's hand. Impish ones often seize this chance to dash 
away to some spot where you don't want them to go, 
usually somebody else's stall, where they are in danger of 
being brained by a kick ; altogether, it is a season of small 
trials to the stock owner. 

In this connection one might mention their going out 
into the yard after a breakfast that has lasted about two 
hours, and immediately beginning to gnaw wood. Poor, 
starving dears ! If one had spent a quarter of the time 
and effort over one's own meals that one did on theirs, 
one might be more sympathetic; but it is I, this winter, 
that have lived casually on the unadorned egg; and Gli 
and Boo-boo know it ; for in the privacy of the kitchen, 



and lest the art of conversation leave me, I teK them all 
my griefs ! . . . 

This morning, I admit, was an exception. It had been 
a snappy cold night, and I carried them out a big wind- 
row, stringing it along in the sun, where the many-colored 
line looks so picturesque beside green hay, laid on the 
whiteness of the snow. When, much later, I came out 
again, leading Cressy by the horn, I was pleased to see 
hay still strewing the yard, and a row of somnolent 
ponies, with tight-shut eyes, dozing by the shed. For the 
time being, they had had enough ! and Cressy waddled her 
way undisturbed to the trough. I still have to guard her 
passage there; but this morning nobody either looked or 
cared. The sun was warm ; "breakfast is over, all 's well 
with the work! !" they seemed to murmur in their sleep ; 
and, leaving Cressy gooping down her drink, I tiptoed 
back into the barn. 

But the result of all this was that when the other ponies 
and horses came out they fell upon these remains, and 
grievous squabbles ensued. The ponies dozing by the 
shed woke up and rushed to defend their ex-breakfasts. 
Also, Elizabeth could n't find anybody to play with. Al- 
most everybody was cross, and eating as fast as possible ; 
even Donlinna's nose was groping busily in the snow. 
Elizabeth gazed around a moment, ran and took her imi- 
tative little drink at the trough, backed three steps, lay 
down wop! rolled back and forth, little legs flourish- 
ing, round, woolly stomach rotating in the sunshine ; then 
jumped gaily up. With a provocative slash of her tail she 
ran to her beau, Bally Beg, who is usually effusively ready 
for whatever she suggests; but Bally Beg, absorbed in 
digging out spears of hay, paid no attention. Crowding 



up to him, she laid her nose saucily across his withers, 
just grinding her jaw-bone on him a bit ; Bally responded 
by nipping her heartily on the knee ! Not a particle dis- 
concerted, for Elizabeth, like any little girl who has 
played with boys, does not take such cavalier treatment to 
heart, she flounced away, to confront the floury spectacle 
of her chum Donlinna, now tired of pretending to eat, 
rolling over and over in untrodden snow. Elizabeth con- 
sidered a moment, her chin tucked in, her eyes humorous ; 
then suddenly dashed up and, to my horror, delivered a 
deft kick on those stout, inviting chestnut hips, which 
just then rolled her way. 

"Oh !" I cried, and prepared to rush to her aid ; but big 
Donlinna, usually so swift to retort, merely jumped up, 
stared around, and fell upon hay-grubbing again. Thus 
fodder doth make cowards of us all! Elizabeth and I 
were, I think, equally disappointed ; with a grunt of dis- 
dain the baby turned her back on such material-minded- 
ness, and went off at a scornful little trot toward the salt- 
rocks. There she found the adolescent Sunny, mooning 
as usual, too unenterprising even to join in the hay-party 
below, and approached him with a nose timidly out- 
stretched; for Sunny, having just got over being a baby 
himself, has no great love for the young. She approached 
nearer. "I do believe he'll play with me!" when 
whoosh! the gentleman whirled upon her with wrath, and 
poor Elizabeth fled. 

But not far. Just beyond stood a stout gray post, once 
belonging to a gateway, but now the beloved rubbing-post 
of the whole family. Here was a baby's chance; and, 
with the sweetest possible expression, she backed against 
it. What a place for a tail-rub ! And when I at last tore 



myself away she was still scrubbing up and down, pushing 
back with all four little legs, waving her nose in the air, 
and having, for all the piggishness of her chums, a per- 
fectly beautiful time ! 

Later, life revived in that barn-yard. As afternoon 
came on, tremendous were the tail-wavings, the assaults, 
the dashings up and down. Even Sunny awoke and flew 
about; and Queen attempted to rival Elizabeth at that 
small person's very own specialties the lamb-leap, the 
pirouette, and the heaven-going kick. They all seemed 
glad to see me again ; when 1 appeared, everybody imme- 
diately kicked everybody else and rushed up to be petted. 
It was really touching; never had I seen so many affec- 
tionate sets of teeth in action all at once. It took a little 
maneuvering to escape from some of the target-practice 
Ocean Wave's especially. Ocean is a funny pony. She 
has the sweetest disposition in the world, but to watch her 
when I come near one would think her a little devil. As 
I walk across the yard, she looks threateningly about her ; 
when I reach her head, she reaches out and bites savagely 
at the nearest pony; when I lay a hand on her she gives 
me a sweet, transient beam, then backs wildly in every 
direction, biting and kicking, until I can contain my 
laughter enough to draw her with me to some quiet cor- 
ner, where she becomes an angel at once. But a stranger 
would think her possessed of demons ! 

Strangers, in fact, have a curious time in that barn- 
yard. They go in, all happy eagerness. 

"Oh, the dear little things! How pretty they are!" 
And the dear little things, also all eagerness at the sight 
of anybody new, come trotting up. Noses are stroked, 
sweet faces admired, and then, as the mob increases, and 



those in the rear begin to push a little too much on those 
in front, the visitors ever so slightly retreat. 
"Dear me ! How very friendly they are!" 
A tiny quarrel starts up; ears are laid back, and faces 
alter; it is time, we know, for visitors' expressions, also, 
to change. "Won't they hurt each other ?" they anxiously 
inquire with a slight backward glance over their 

"They're just jealous," we hasten to explain. "Per- 
haps," we suggest, shooing gently here and there, trying 
not to smile broadly at each other as noses crowd close 
and traces of temper start up here and there, just as, in 
a human mob, inimic mutterings arise, "perhaps you all 
might go over and step up on those rocks. Then you can 
see so much better I" The strangers gladly assent ; and 
from that moment the rock is their fortress. From it, 
they admire at their ease unless one of them be feminine 
and wear (as one of our visitors did) a white satin skirt, 
whose flavor my young ponies seem to enjoy. Perhaps 
it is just the dazzling effect of white satin in a barn-yard ; 
but green, admiring smears are inevitably its fate. It 
might be made of daisy-petals or cake-frosting for all 
they know; who could blame them for nibbling? The 
elderly woman who wore it had diamonds on, and prob- 
ably sixteen more satin skirts at home ; at any rate, she 
seemed quite pleased to have them taste it. We thought 
her a very nice woman. 

* * * 

February 14. 

Picking up one of our magazines last evening and 
running through its table of contents, I laid it suddenly 
down, staring happily into my fire. How good it is to see 


old ways returning even in periodicals} and literature 
again beginning to hold up its head. During the war, 
we had anything given us, and liked it as long as it was 
real; anybody, if he had something true to tell, could tell 
it, anyhow! and we were grateful. A great change 
came over our magazines, especially the more literary 
among them; dropping their characteristic tone, they be- 
came news-vendors (of a superior sort), cultivating the 
quality of timeliness to the exclusion of other, well-loved 
qualities which had been theirs. For timeliness is an 
enemy to art. It cannot help but be so. As John Drink- 
water says, no man can work with half an eye on what the 
public wants, without deflecting what is in him his own 
peculiar power. 

Of course, no one at that sad time could put his mind 
on any art; but now a certain calm has come. Authors 
are beginning to feel about their work the attention of an 
audience with a comparatively free mind ; and pretty soon 
we are going to have something. ... I have n't read the 
article whose title stirred me to these happy thoughts ; but 
it was something on literature. A whole article! And, 
whether I shall like it or agree with it or not, the mere 
idea of its existence the first of its sort fpr many a year 
fills me with joy. It did seem as if the arts had gone 
under for good . . . and here they are again, bobbing up ! 

* * * 

February 15. 

I have the most absurd nose. An imaginative nose ; if 
there can be such a thing. Sometimes it is very nice, 
sometimes not. Yesterday morning, for instance, when I 
went out of the back door, the air smelled deliciously of 
lavender. Yet all around me was snow and wood-piles ! 



To-day, when I awoke, it was to a scent of tar soap so 
strong that I sat blinkingly up in bed, wondering what 
was the matter with everything. For a confused moment, 
I was sure it was fire! and listened dreadfully for a 
crackle; and then tar soap again. Tar soap was what 
our youthful heads were always washed with, and I sup- 
pose I had rather a strong dose of it now and then. We 
had a fat old darky shampooer who came to the house; 
she was fearfully energetic, I can feel the prickle of suds 
in my nose now; and what handfuls of perfectly good 
young hair she did extract. ... In another moment tar 
soap had completely vanished and I was admiring the 
lovely and odorless sunrise. I have never seen a sunrise 
that had a smell one of the few visibilities in this world 
that have n't Dew has, and rain, and midnight, and snow 
at sunset, and the east wind; in fact, nearly all winds. 
(Only I 'm glad I don't get butcherings from them, as 
Goliath does!) . . . 

One perfectly visible and earthly thing that I can't 
smell is a footprint. I do envy Goliath his nose for them. 
Collies are not supposed to have scent; but Goliath can 
follow a trail at a gallop. How simple it would be to find 
somebody you want! When my Babs, though on the 
farm, has disappeared off the face of the visible earth, 
what wouldn't one give, in emergency, to be able to 
follow her valiant track? As it is, I say, helplessly, "Old 
man, where 's Little Missis?" He whirls around a few 
times, starts off, and has her in a twinkling. 

Among our animals, Kimmie is the only one who seems 
to lack proper sense of smell. I just discovered it to- 
day. He was the stupidest thing with his nose! On 
coming in from noon chores, I threw him an apple. It 



is Kim's lunch. Being fat as a butter-ball (and stallions 
should not be very fat), he is not supposed to have any 
lunch ; but he does snigger at one so, over his fence. . . . 
Having already entered the kitchen and laboriously taken 
off my goloshes, I stood on the back step and threw the 
apple; it landed in the snow at the edge of the path, 
and the thud of the apple he heard. Besides, he was ex- 
pecting it ; he whirled and searched. Find it, he could not. 
Just as I would think he was getting "warm," he would 
veer off and go sniffing along some totally irrelevant route. 
He sniffed and sniffed. At last, with a 'flop of his silver 
f oretop, he flung up his head, looking very handsome and 
earnest, and regarded me squarely: "You didn't throw 

"I did !" I responded, rudely (my own lunch was wait- 
ing) ; "it 's under your feet, silly !" 

For an instant he lowered his head, helplessly sniffing ; 
then gazed at me again. 

"It simply is n't here, Missis !" he insisted. 

I went in, and banged the door. I yanked on my 
goloshes. I went out, climbed through the fence, and 
marched to that apple. Excitedly he followed me, whin- 
nering over my shoulder. 

"What 's that?" I demanded sternly, leaning down and 

"Where?" he said agitatedly. 

"There!" I shouted. His nose, and my hand, were 
directly over the hole in the snow; red and yellow were 
plain to be seen and smelled; but still he nuzzled im- 
ploringly at my glove. I stood up again scornfully, eying 
the top of that beautiful but simple-minded head, and, 
with one sweep of a golosh, laid the entire apple bare. 



Sluzzle, sluzzle, sluzzle! 

The barn-yard ponies would have had that apple in a 
jiffy. But a stallion leads so dependent a life, is so much 
more pauperized, as it were, than his free-racing ladies, 
that he becomes less "gleg in the uptak" ; in matters of 
ordinary living, his wits are no match for theirs. 

After the apple was finished, Kim followed me again, 
but this time cocking his head so saucily that I turned and 
confronted him, backing the last few steps to the fence. 
"Keep your paws to yourself, dearie," I murmured and 
crawled through, leaving him hanging ardently over the 
top rail, yawning a great, dreary, pink yawn. Apples, 
and companionship both had vanished. His Donlinna, 
too, weary of long-distance flirting, has deserted him, and 
comes no more to the bars ; but one day to my astonish- 
ment I saw my elderly Pip, her white star shining in the 
sun, take her stand by the gate and stealthily send in 
Kim's direction one of her long, sly, old-maidish looks. 
. . . Et tu, Pippy? One did n't think it of you! 

Tennyson, in his well-mannered list of things that 
brighten in the spring, does not mention pony-stallions; 
but as these February days lengthen days when, in Eng- 
land, they 'd be plowing ! my Kim looks fixedly over the 
bars at me, and though there may be no "brighter iris" 
about him ; indeed, at this season his coat grows shabbier 
every day there is a difference, a dawning ; a something 
that portends the need of a higher, stronger fence, if he 
is to stay within it. His chest-rubs on the upper rail are 
growing daily more menacing; harder and harder he leans 
on it, straining for a sight of possible ears above that 
Mecca of his, the barn-yard gate. . . . 

And yet when a pony really appears, he is mild and 


mannerly. Yesterday Ocean Wave, having made, as is 
her wont, a new hole in the yard fence, came wandering 
down the lane, sneezing happily, and nipping at raspberry- 
shoots. Perceiving her, Kimmie set up a roar. Ocean, 
one of those sexless individuals found even among pony- 
kind, who seem to have no maternal leanings whatever, 
ignoring gentlemen, and taking out all her energy on the 
road, a Shetland feminist, in short! glanced noncha- 
lantly around ; but, seeing a lonely fellow-being yammer- 
ing over a fence, decided to take pity on him. Trotting 
over, Ocean never does anything at a walk, she thrust 
her head frankly inside the rails. 

"Oh, dear !" I murmured, shrinking, "now there '11 be 
a terrible " 

But there was n't. Nothing at all. Not a single scream. 
They nosed each other peacefully; they had a simply 
gorgeous neck-bite the mark of good-fellowship, pure 
and simple; then, withdrawing her head, Ocean, like a 
perfect lady, strolled indifferently away, while Kim, heav- 
ing a slight sigh, gazed after her, but without obvious 
regrets. He is always surprising us by being nice like 
that ; we were so used to the roars of our previous stallion, 
that little, copper-colored dynamo of a Reddy. Reddy's 
regrets would have been so obvious they could have been 
heard a mile. Also there would have been one less fence 
on the farm. 

* * * 

February 16. 

Once more a perfect morning. When I opened the 
porch door, Goliath stepped out and made a profound 
bow to the scenery. I felt like making one, too. Then he 
smiled up at me, said, "Isn't it glorious !" kissed my 



hand, and went wagging down the steps. ... I have n't 
seen him since ! Is spring going to his head, too ? And a 
Missis that doesn't ride any more, except slow, saddle- 
gripping trips to the mail-box and back, is a sad trial to 
collie patience. He simply has to have runs, yet he knows 
it is wrong to go away; so when he comes back, though I 
merely tell him how I miss my dear dog, he apologizes 
for hours. For a few days he stays around, bored, wist- 
ful, yawning; and then I miss him again. Poor Gli, I 
wish I could make him understand ! Frontispiece is hor- 
ribly cranky still. For a day or two it was quite glad it 
had been taken to town. It shoveled the new snow, and 
even accomplished a real armful of wood ; and I told the 
boy he need come no longer. But there have been set- 
backs. I ventured one short trot on Polly, to catch a 
mail ; and next day was miserable. 

Last evening, dreading even that much joggling on 
horseback, I walked down for the mail. It was snapping 
cold and clear, with an Arthur Rackham sunset behind 
the woods a perfect colored etching, copper-red and 
green, the woods warmly brown, and, near by, distorted, 
hobgobliny trees. No doubt Rackham's slim-limbed fairies 
were there, too in the joints of the trees, or streaming 
through the brownness of the wood. 

The collie was with me, a beautiful wolf on the twilight 
snow; I had him run ahead on purpose. . . . Siberia! 
And when 'he raced raveningly through the dim woods 
oo ! one felt the whole grisly pack behind him. Those 
hemlocks were just right, shadowed and gloomy; he 
goes at full speed among them. As the road clears 
and opens, his intensity slackens, and at the banality of a 
cross-roads he is once more mere, snuffing dog. Other 

[1971 . 


interests being for the moment suspended, he searches for 
a stick. Just here there is a brook-canon that is advan- 
tageous a short span for the thrower, but a puzzling, 
yapping gulf for him that goeth to the depths ! So it suits 
us both. After five or six throws and as many plunging, 
yelping, brook-leaping trips, he is undone; with heaving 
sides, and eyes fairly glazing from fatigue, he gives his 
treasure a fling at my feet and gulps at the unsatisfying 
snow. So I put a deterring foot on the stick. "Come 
along, Gli !" He looks imploringly, shiningly, up into my 
face; sees sternness there; falters forward a few steps; 
then, as it comes over him how overwhelmingly he adores 
that stick, dashes back again. But an order gets there 
before he does ; and he shamefacedly returns. 

But we are nearing the magic of the woods. I say, 

"Where are those chipmunks-old-man?" with a 

mad little rush of voice at the end ; and he is off. Once 
more he dimly ranges, nose to snow, a wolf of Siberian 
forests. I miss him ; but I miss his yelps, too. This was 
no night for raucous sound . . . and at the top of the first 
pitch I stopped. I was in a court of moonlight. Silence 
and snow-laden hemlocks. The moon, through hemlock 
tops, was flitting under filmy clouds which grew rosy as 
they glided across her veils of transparent color ; and her 
light, falling into this fairy glade, was warm and pinkish. 
The evergreen boughs laid down strong shadow-patterns 
around the edge of the court ; and no wind disturbed the 
sleeping trees, or sent down puffs of dust from their 
snowy burdens ; though in woods across the valley one 
could hear it, low and steady, like the roar of the sea. 
Hushed, expectant, the court of Moonlight waited ; where 
were the kings and queens ? 


Scarcely breathing, I trod softly past. Into a very 
purple shadow. Its edges were bright silver. Then into a 
silver space ; but what were those tiny shadows all around 
me? Leaf-shadows? ... I stared upward. . . . Beech- 
leaves in midwinter! mere memories of leaves, sparse, 
colorless, but clinging with spring-like semblance to their 
twigs ; printed black against the bright sky, but throwing 
pearl-gray shadows at my feet. The moon-lit snow was 
sweet with patterns of them; violets, trillium, hepatica, 
were in the air; smiling, I could have kissed those pro- 
phetic flickerings. In April, under a young moon, the 
same gray lace would shift against the sky move moistly, 
not rattle dryly as just then the pallid ghosts above me 
did. A bit of wind was rising; the gray shadows moved. 
I went on up the hill. 

More purple and silver, but in expected blotches now. 
The wolf joined me, panting. Pacing at my heels, he 
refused to be a spectacle any longer. Miles and miles in 
the forest he had raced, he told me, while I was staring 
there ; would I please not ask him to "run on" ? So up 
the bright curve of road toward the white roof-lines, the 
single yellow light, we trudged together; and up the snow- 
path to the green door. . . . Lettuce-green in moonlight 
is merely its more silvery self; lovely on the old gray 

* * * 

February 19. 

When one can scarcely ride at all, when steering a 
sleigh among drifts is equally unrecommended, and when 
one's walking powers are few, the acquiring of food, on a 
remote hilltop, becomes a problem. One's best device is 



to have things deposited by kind and passing neighbors 
at one's mail-box, half a mile away, and, in local phrase, 
"go git 'em!" The following drama may serve as an 
illustration. It is entitled, briefly 


Time Day before yesterday, yesterday, and to-day. 
Dramatis Personae 

The Postmaster 



Four Pork-Chops 

Scene i. 
The Store. Afternoon. 

[Enter MYSELF, snowy, in riding garb.] 

POSTMASTER [an energetic little foreigner, with much 
manner]. How do you do, Missus Gr-eene! 

MYSELF [absently]. Nicely, thank you. [Stamping 
off snow.] 

POSTMASTER [ingratiatingly] . And what will it be too- 
day, Missus Gr-eene? 

MYSELF [wandering about the store]. Canned peas 
how much are they? 

POSTMASTER. I have that same brand you had bee- 
fore; tventy-five cents. 

M. [learnedly] . This is too much to pay for peas now. 
Besides, I don't like that brand. Those are old peas, 

P. [earnestly, inspecting a can]. It iss a this year's 

M. [interrupting crisply]. No doubt. But they can 


always go into the fields and pick peas when they are 

P. [hastily] . That iss so, that iss so. ... Here is an- 
other brand, if you like. 

M. Very well. I '11 try it. Here is a list of things. 
And have you any fresh meat? 

P. [graciously]. Yes, mem, I will have bacon too- 
night when the stage comes, and too-morrow I will be 
able to give you some fresh porg. I have a loin coming. 
Will it be chops or a liddle roast I should cut off ? 

M. [adjusting coat-collar]. Chops, please. Four. I 
will be down for them to-morrow. And will you put the 
other things in my saddle-bags, now? [Exit,] 

Scene 2. 

Next Afternoon. The Library, at the Farm. Four 

MYSELF [at the telephone; meditating ruefully]. I 
simply can't ride down to that store to-day. I '11 call them 
up. Seven six ring twenty-one, please. . . . Busy? All 
right. [Puts up telephone,] 

Later. Four thirty. 

SAME [at the telephone] . Seven six ring twenty-one, 
Central, or is it still busy? ... It is? [Replaces tele- 
phone.] If I don't get him soon, the stage will be in, 
and he '11 be changing mail, and I '11 never get him ! [Exit, 
disgustedly, to the barn.] 

Still later. Four forty-five. 

MYSELF [ bursting hastily in and rushing to the telephone] . 
Central, can I have that number now? Oh, Store? I 



wanted to ask if that pork you were going to have has 
come in yet. . . . Well, I sha' n't be able to ride down for 
it to-day ; is there any possible way it might be left at my 
mail-box? .... Oh, thank you very much. About what 
time would the boy be leaving, do you think? Could you 
call'up and tell me? About six, I shall be here. . . . Oh, 
yes, I can come down! It will be moonlight. . . . Oh, 
and could you send up a loaf of bread and the mail, too, 
please ? Thank you. [Puts up telephone. Exit again.} 

Same. Six fifteen. 

MYSELF [entering hurriedly, picking up telephone]. 
Yes? ... He will -start about seven thirty? Thanks. 
Tell him I '11 be so much obliged. . . . And if he '11 put 
the chops inside the mail-box, then dogs won't get them. 
Good-by! [Exit.] 

Same. Eight thirty. 

MYSELF [at telephone; sleepily]. Just started? Yes, 
it is rather late. Thank you for letting me know. A 
box? Oh, very well. Oh, no, he won't take twenty min- 
utes driving up, do you think? Well, thank you. [Drops 
telephone, with a sigh of weariness.] 

[Darkly.] Next time I '11 ride down, and save all this 
fuss. And he's packed it all in a box! That will be 
heavy, I know it will. A cardboard box, he said; but why 
did I tell him to put in bread ? . . . And it will be down 
there, sitting in the snow. And dogs could tear open a 
cardboard box; oh, dear! [Going to window.] And 
the moon has gone in. How disgusting of it ! It 's all 
gray and spooky. And the woods will be black. . . . It 's 



a long way down, and I 'm so tired. ... I won't go ! It 
can just sit there till morning. Things have before. If 
only this wasn't meat. . . . Well [recklessly], what's 
four chops anyway ! I '11 get up early and take Polly and 
ride down. That will be better. [Piously.} I know I 
ought n't to carry a box up these hills ! [Subsides, but 
with a heavy conscience, into easy-chair.} 

Scene 3. 
The Horse Barn. Early next morning. 

MYSELF [briskly]. Wow! it's cold! [Irritably.] 
How can it be so cold and be snowing so ? I can hardly 
see that apple-tree out there. Sweet morning for a ride. 
. . . Back out, Polly. Yes, I know you don't want to. 
... I will undo your blanket! Nip away, dearie. . . . 
No, I know you have n't had your breakfast ; neither have 
I. Don't jump so, silly ! That J s only the saddle. Did n't 
y'ever feel a saddle before? So-o! [Picks up bridle.] 
Oh, your bit ! Good gracious, it 's all frost. [Breathes 
on it anxiously.] Jiminy, it's all frost still. . . . It is 
cold, sure enough. I '11 take it in the house and hot-water 
it. [Tenderly, hugging horse.] Shouldn't have her 
mouth all skinned, poor lamb ; no, she should n't. [Exit, 
on the run.] 

[Reentering.] There ! It *s warm still. I did it up in 
my scarf. Take in! . . . Wait a second, lamb. Can't 
you let a person mount? ... I tell you I 've got to shut 
that door; get round there. Whoa! Want to freeze 
everybody, pig? ... A-all right. Ni-ice Polly! [Pet- 
ting her.] 

[Exeunt down road.] 



Scene 4. 
Road, close to mail-box. Ten minutes later. 

MYSELF [squinting anxiously forward in saddle]. 
Goodness, but this snow 's thick. We ought to be near 
that box, but I can't see it. Get along, Polly. Drifts 
won't bite you. I know you hate J em, but wallow along. 
, . . Keep in the road, Silly ! That 's deep, out there. 
Sh'd think you 'd know that by this time. Jiminy, my 
feet are freezing. . . . Whoa! What's that? That black 
thing. Is it the post? .Oh, it's rngving! It's a ... 
[Whistles madly.] Gli, where are you ! Dawg! Siggim ! 
[Dismounts painfully, clinging to pommel ,] White lump 
is this it? No. . . . [Feeling blindly around.] More 
white lumps. If the flakes did n't blind a person so ; it 's 
like cream in your eyes. Ha ! here 's the mail-box ; nearly 
drifted under. . . . Good Gli! did you drive him, hey? 
That 's the fine boy. Here are his horrfd tracks, are n't 
they. Ah! [Pouncing.] Here it is I Good stout string. 
He *s only scratched one little corner off ; glad it was a 
box ! It is n't so heavy, either. Jiminy ! [mounting] but 
that was a whoa, Polly ! narrow escape ! Whoa ! Tell 
you I wi-itt tuck down my coat. . . . All right now. 
[Hugging box.} Well, I 've got you, anyhow. Let me 
brush off some of that snow. There now! [Relaxing 
exhaustedly in saddle.] Let 's get home to breakfast. 

THE FOUR PORK-CHOPS [devoutly, in chorus]. Saved, 
saved, saved ! 

* * * 

February 21. 

A wearying, happy day. Took a pony harness to town ; 
brought back books and a load of necessaries. I was going 



to buy a primula, but felt too "savin'." Primulas are 
cheerful, but I don't need to be cheerful any more. Bos- 
ton was primula enough for a long time. My lily, because 
I hate so to throw it away, has become a jungle, a wild 
tangle of wrecked and dissipated-looking foliage, and 
moldy, water-logged bulbs; but it shows me new things 
every day. I stare into it and see alligators and fish-hawks 
and swamps and cypresses and all sorts of damp, wild, 
beautiful, disorderly things. That is one more reason for 
keeping it. I 've looked at the alligators so long now, I 
should miss them. I never had a swamp in my library be- 
fore! Though libraries sometimes do need moistening. 
Public libraries, especially. They are drought personified. 
Think of it, what it would add to books : in every library 
building, a nice centerpiece of swamp, all green and wet, 
with water-growths sticking up. Then pretty young li- 
brarians would never dry up (in magazine stories they are 
always doing that, and the hero rescues them just in time) ; 
and, in contrast to the wateriness, how the warm book- 
bindings would do one's heart good ! For many a swamp, 
indeed, would add immensely to its charm by annexing 
a bit of dry, warm comfort near at hand. Most of them 
either libraries or swamps don't know when to leave 


And so I still treasure my disreputable lily. It really 
looks drunken until you get the alligator feeling, and 
then it is seemly again. It gives me a strong marsh-grass 
sensation, too; that lovely, crabby sense of being down, 
down among the low-tide roots, smelling the salt mud. 
Wet things, with shells on, lie around, apparently 
stranded; occasionally one of them rises and walks off. 
That is a surprise. Sometimes they walk off without 



luncheon with a brain felicitously clear. Coffee by the 
blazing fire; dogs on the Persian rug; more and more 
verbal orgies until the narrow skirt, with difficulty re- 
membering its luncheon manners, makes its way again 
through the pretty woods. 

And then you trip about the village on your afternoon 
errands, truly hoping some one will notice what you have 
on (it being your habit to come to town looking like an 
Icelander), and, with books tucked beneath the seat, start 
on your homeward drive. The wind has gone down ; you 
are cheered, warm, and full of benevolence. At home, 
however, you alight somewhat flounderingly from beneath 
your robes. The narrow skirt is at its tricks again. Rac- 
ing in, as well as the abominable thing will let you, you 
strip it from you like a plague. Away with it! Away 
with hats and presentable shoes and chilly, transparent 
sleeves ! Georgette for a day ; but for a month a year 
the farm! And as one's flannel shirt slips on, one 
rejoices even in that familiar, smothery moment when it 
is over one's head, and warm darkness everywhere. 

In the barn, for the first dusty moment or two, rebellion 
seizes you. Hay seems unnecessary ; georgette is in one's 
soul. . . . But a loud snicker from Elizabeth, who runs 
to you with glad baby eyes, dispels all that, and presently 
you are tramping around in your faithful goloshes, open- 
ing wooden windows, poking pitchforks in and out, as if 
you knew or wished nothing further in life. 

And this morning came the jolliest of Marchy blows, to 
welcome a restored farmer. The warm wind, with a 
snow-flake or two in it, was tearing about the barns; 
everything that could rattle rattled; other things flapped 
and flew; and in the barn-yard we had the grandest frolic. 



The youngsters, Lassie and Sunny and Queen and Eliza- 
beth, all went fearing and ripping around till with a whoop 
of joy I joined them (frontispieces forgot!) and careered 
like another colt. Cressy, watching us from the shed, was 
so scandalized or inspired by this unheard-of behavior 
on the part of a Missis that she, too, flung up calf-like 
heels and came galumphing and head-shaking out to gam- 
bol with us. This, too, was unheard of. For if Cressy, 
by strategy, gets possession of a shed, she clings to it. 
But this morning holiday had us all. Elizabeth played 
first at me, and then with me like a frolicsome puppy ; 
running at me, coming to a dramatic halt, then heels up ! 
and away. After a while I had only to poke my face out 
at her and say "Boo !" and the little, tow-headed gambols 
began. Lassie, too. She is a big, sweet-tempered, high- 
stepping yearling, with much action ; and she did supreme- 
ly foot it up and down, darting by me with an acknowledg- 
ing duck of the head and a coquettishly-gleaming eye. I 
had never had so personal a time with these children ; and 
came in red-cheeked, blown, and beaming. 

Later the wind brought a snow-squall worth the watch- 
ing. The flakes flew venomously, straight across the hills, 
and blinding thick. Under every one of my dear rattly 
old windows lies a tiny drift; even the tight new front 
ones let in a sort of spray. It is all over now, the wind 
dying down; I must go out and give Cressy her noon hay. 

February 24. 

Donlinna and I had a thrill last night. As I was getting 
down hay, she had been pawing uproariously. Donny 
cannot wait one instant for anything; and she cannot 



Another day, another image comes to -mind : A figure 
on snow-shoes, in brown corduroy, a dog at its heels, has- 
tening down from the high knoll ; pitching into soft snow, 
skidding over icy places, racing across meadows and down 
the lane. The figure is muttering to itself. "And Goliath 
and I went up the lane, in the rain, together; spiritually at 
one!" . . . That jewel, too, was apparently to have been 
enshrined in letters; for the figure was hastening for a 
note-book ! (I always have to run home for one or bor- 
row Babs's. Mine is in "some other pocket"!) ... Of 
course, I have never since had the remotest idea why 
Goliath and I were in that ideally spiritual state of mind ; 
but I do remember perfectly well plunging down that hill 
and leaving a most glorious sunset to record a phrase 
which somehow did n't get recorded after all ! 

* * * 


A miraculous answer to prayer or rather to irritated 
wishes arrived to-night in the haymow! a spot appar- 
ently conducive to luminous thought. Just before sunset 
I was placidly putting down the night' s supply, when it 
occurred to me quite freshly what a nice place a haymow 
is. The stratum I am now uncovering is of fine, silky hay, 
singularly green, and smelling bewitchingly of the fields. 
June grass, cut early; and I know exactly where it came 
from our highest mountain-mowing, from which a mag- 
nificent view extends. We always linger affectionately 
over that field ; and then what a skiddering, toppling hill 
to drive a hay-load down! We have never tipped over 
yet ; but every time it seems as if we were going to. ... 

As I forked, therefore (with blue mountains in my 


eye), over that fragrant surface, often coming upon those 
smooth, round, nest-like looking bundles which fine hay 
likes to make of itself, my mind, once more revolving 
literary-ward, began constructing themes on haymows, 
rambling along over the possibilities of finding eggs or kit- 
tens in just such nests as these, etc., etc., when with a tri- 
umphant jab of my fork into a receptive lump, I looked up 
to the old rafters and shouted. . . . Found at last ! that 
beastly "biped on the farm" which had driven me dis- 
tracted at lunch. Thus: Kittens and eggs in the hay 
not possible here, Mr. Boo being our only pussy, and we 
having no hens I being, in other words, therefore, "the 
only biped on the farm." Hallelujah! . . . What a re- 
lief ! But how tame ! I suddenly thought, frowning scorn- 
fully at the tines of my shining fork; not worth even a 
fraction of one anguished egg. . . . And I, who was so 
sure it belonged to a nice story ! 

Nice or not, however, it was heavenly to get it off one's 
mind. As for the other will-o'-the-wisp, the spiritually- 
rainy lane, I somehow didn't mind about that. Let it 
remain a mystery. Like most mysteries, it would doubt- 
less unravel into flatness. . . . 

We were once disputing, a company of painters and 
writers, as to which was the harder winding oneself up 
to paint or write. An author opined that of course writ- 
ing was the more difficult. Your state of mind was shyer, 
rarer ; you stalked for days sometimes to bring it down. 
Even then it sometimes wriggled away, and the stalking 
had to be done all over again. 

At this a chorus of dissent arose from the artists. "You 
talk of stalking!" cried one of them. "It 's we that stalk. 
We stalk not only mood and subject and time and place, 



but if it's outdoor work light, weather, perhaps even 
an agonizing choice of medium! You can't do water- 
colors in winter, nor pastels in a fog. Maybe you 're just 
jumping for work and the sun goes under a cloud; or, 
if the light 's right and everything else, likely as not your 
mood goes bang and there you are !" 

But the writer, though silent, was obdurate. He eyed 
his rings of smoke, and gently smiled, and shook his head. 
He was famous for his silences. The rest of us argued 
and declaimed, telling him that he was a lucky dog, that all 
he needed was a pencil and himself, that his working time 
could run all over the clock, etc., etc., but we could not 
convince him. And I have come to feel he* was right. To 
paint, you need the margin of an hour or two and then, 
though you have n't worked for a year, you can go boldly 
at it. You have lost nothing. In fact, you may have 
gained by waiting. . . . With writing it is quite other- 
wise. You must keep in the habit. After a lapse it will 
take you not an hour, but a week, a month, maybe, to find 
your mood again that mood in which things drop from 
heaven. There 's no forcing it ; you can't set your notions 
in front of you, and stare at them till they take shape; 
they have to come to you whether you ask them or not. 
. . . And you have to be in the habit of that mood ! Of 
inspiration ! 

A dreadful combination of requirements ! 

February 26. 

My red squirrel that lives in Alpha has come back. I 
had n't seen him for days. I am glad he has n't been eaten 
yet, though he had a frightfully narrow .escape the other 



day. .From the library window I saw Boo-boo outside, 
creeping swiftly up the snowy path with his stomach in the 
snow and craft in every line of him. He was en route to 
the terrace. With Gli at my heels I tiptoed to the door. 
If there was to be tragedy, we purposed to intercept it! 
His jaw quivering, Boo worked himself out to the edge of 
the terrace wall, where there is an opening in the rose- 
bushes ; such lust to kill, I never saw. His whiskers pro- 
truded, his back wove in and out with stealth ; as he stole 
forward, each flexing paw was set down with a delicacy 
possible only to one who has murder in his soul. From 
beneath the wall came a scolding, rapid, continuous, varied 
by a curious, sotto-voce, little wailing cry which might 
have come from the very hearts of those who for ages 
have known themselves pursued. Toward the edge of the 
wall Boo crept and flattened himself, not peering over the 
wall, not quite, but so intensely desiring to peer over, 
that I thought his impassioned ears would drop from his 
head. From below, the unseen wails increased ; the victim 
was evidently drawing nearer. I could bear it no longer. 

"Kiss the kitty!" I whispered fiercely to Gli; "kiss 

It is an old emergency device of ours. With a humor- 
ous glance at me, the collie darted silently through the 
snow, and dropped his nose on the cat's head. Boo, who 
had heard nothing of this approach, gave one startled spit, 
leaped in the air, lost his balance, falling backward over 
the wall, at whose stones he clutched in desperation, at 
last hauling himself up with ears at all angles and staring 
bewilderedly at us. Gone was the hunter the thing of 
creeping wiles; only a dear, distracted pussy sat there, 
whirling his ears so absurdly that I leaned against a porch 


post, consumed with laughter, while Goliath, grinning in 
sympathy, came leaping about me. . . . 

But Boo saw no joke whatever. The seductive scolding 
had ceased the scolder disappeared ; and so he sat there, 
fat, furry, and sad, a rueful orange bunch against the 
snowy landscape. 

To-day, therefore, I was more than ever pleased to 
hear chirping sounds from Alpha, and behold my little 
friend busy about its branches. He was busier, in fact, 
than I had ever seen him flipping about, doing something 
very devotedly with his mouth, nibbling or lapping. At 
any rate, with his lightning quickness he was running out 
every branch, flopping beneath it, then running along 
upside down, like a sailor on a yard-arm, licking as he 
went. That twig exhausted, he would dart back, turn 
upside down, and run out another. Such a nervous job ! 
I was in plain sight in the window, but he did not give 
me a glance, or a single scold. Flop! lick-lick-lick-lick. 
. . . Pull up and Hop! lap-lap-lap-lap! 

I decided he must be getting moisture. Could it be 
sap? One of my neighbors had made sugar already, 
but surely sap would not be oozing through bark. . . . 

By this time he had licked over most of the lower parts 
of Alpha; conceiving he had had enough, he suddenly 
flicked into its interior. I waded out through untrodden 
snow to inspect those branches. Not a mark ! No tooth- 
print, or scar of any sort; only tongue-work! . . . The 
poor little chap was certainly after water. Yes, our brook 
was now mostly covered in, or the banks piled high with 
snow and ice ; drinks might well have become a problem. 
. . . But I thought all these creatures ate snow ! 

Next morning, however, as I went to the watering- 


trough, I saw on its snow-piled edge the pitiful dotting 
of little mouse-tracks. My field-mouse, then, was thirsty, 
too ; much touched, I bent over the tiny, anxious prints, 
hoping he got some, and nothing frightened him. By 
day, as the stock drink it down, it would be an impossible 
reach for him ; but when it overflows on a warm night, 
with little ice he could get some. There was no way to 
put water out for him ; it would freeze. He would have 
to come to the trough. And I vowed a vow to clear it 
out for him every night. Only one field-mouse had come ; 
I could see where the tracks hesitated forward to the 
etfge of the water, then darted fast away; but perhaps 
he would tell his brothers, and they all would get up 
courage to come. . . . 

The same day of the upside-down squirrel, two other 
interesting visitors appeared in the pear-tree the big tree 
that we get pickled pears from, near the garden steps. 
These visitors were also unceasingly busy and upside 
down! The cunningest little gray pair of nuthatches 
so industrious, so bouleverse. I think they must share 
the ability of spiders, and be happiest with their heads 
down ! They twirked and twined up and down that tree, 
never seeming to find anything, never quite colliding with 
each other, but having various narrow escapes. It was 
certainly rush hour for nuthatches ; and, like my squirrel, 
they flitted very suddenly away. 

I wonder how many more upside-down visitors I am 
going to have. I find them charming. 

This has been a month of variety; snow every few 
days, and track-language to be deciphered. This makes 
real luxury in one's walks. My gray squirrel, I inferred 
yesterday, had been having an adventure; his leaps down 



the roadside were of phenomenal length, and, instead of 
meandering pleasantly about, as an unscared squirrel does, 
went in a dire straight line. I trust nothing got him! 
The tracks ended abruptly; he doubtless jumped and 
caught a tree I hope so. His daily profile coursing along 
the wall, is one of my joys. 

This has been a rather anguished afternoon. "Sister 
Anne, Sister Anne, do you see any one coming?"- . . . 
The trouble was, my sleigh wasn't turned around! It 
sat there in front of the shed, its shafts fronting serenely 
inward, and I, in the window, gazing imploring at it. 
For I was asked to a seven-mile-away party. I could n't 
ride that far; anyway, the party demanded Clothes; 
neither I nor Dolly could turn that sleigh around in the 
deep snow; nor could I summon djinns to swoop down 
and whop my conveyance round for me. . . . 

It was such a nice party, too. A hundred-year-old 
house was giving it for itself! a birthday celebration; 
and had sent a card with a pleasant sketch of itself, in 
pen and ink, at the top. I had never been to a party given 
by a house; and I wanted extremely to go. Like a dis- 
appointed child, I flattened my nose against the window- 
panes. Apparently there was not a man in all the world ! 
My telephone was out of order ; the boy who does Satur- 
day chores had not appeared; and the chance passer-by 
on our hills is unknown. ... It was all Dolly's and 
frontispiece's fault. Since our December melodrama of 
attempting to turn ourselves round in front of that shed, 
I have n't even suggested that performance to her again. 
I don't enjoy horse-melodrama now; for if she got tan- 
gled up in shafts and things I couldn't, I fear, undo 
her, and that would be sad. . . . 



The time wore uneasily along. The party was from 
five till seven; and not till late did I give up hope. I 
seem to have the absurd yet convenient sort of tempera- 
ment that says "Oh, dear" and "Never mind" in the same 
breath; and it came upon me that I was very contented 
right here. . . . Beside me was a heap of literature; 
"Caliban upon Setebos" open upon my lap; above all, I 
had the Sunday feeling very hard. For it was Sunday 
an odd day for a house to give a party ; or was this fes- 
tivity intended as a Te Deum for not having tumbled 
down yet? A very proper spirit on the part of an old 
house! . . . The Sunday feeling is one I approve of 
for then Sunday seems different, and rests you, even if 
you do the same things as on week-days. Here, in winter, 
morning chores are prohibitory, and one seldom gets to 
church, but as I stroll my pagan way into the woods the 
Sunday feeling comes agreeably along and strolls with 
me. The wind grandly sways the trees and as the great 
forest-music sweeps by overhead, one feels that ". . . God 
is at his organ." 

I remember drifting in a small sail-boat into Newport 
harbor one windless sundown and anchoring in a cove. 
Behind us the old town stood up black against the glow- 
ing sky, which the water between us and the rocky shore 
reflected; and suddenly, across the bay, to our surprise, 
came soft strains of band-music: "Abide with Me." 
There was a fort on that rocky point; and it was Sun- 
day evening. Rarely have I heard anything more beau- 
tiful than that tranquil hymn drifting softly across the 
water. A girl stood beside me, listening ; she was young 
and gay, but as it died away she murmured : "There 's 
nothing like it, is there? The feeling, you know. I 



would n't have been brought up without it for anything ; 
would you?" (Parents in this day and time, take note!) 
To be sure, the next tune that band played was a rollick- 
ing march from Sousa! but every other "piece" was a 
hymn. Was this chance, we wondered, or habitual mili- 
tary concession? The skipper, who hated hymns, sat 
frowning at his coils of rope; but the girl and I still lis- 
tened musingly. The Sunday feeling! something too 
sweet to dream of missing. . . . 

So there by my pet window, where I rarely have a 
daylight moment to sit, I and the Sunday feeling pro- 
ceeded with a consolatory tea-party of our own ; munched 
delicious jelly cookies brought me by a kind and skilful 
neighbor, gazed luxuriously at the darkening hills (our 
hills darken marvelously), and read, at intervals, my 
Caliban who, with his grunting crudity, his atmosphere 
of mud and beasts, truly refreshes one. I took time to 
select, too, just before leaping out to belated chores, 
bits from "Rabbi Ben Ezra." Could more miscellaneous 
comfort, I wonder, be crammed into a poem than lives in 
that one? Those harped-upon, wonderful lines about 
being comforted by what one ". . . aspired to be, and 
was not" who, that loves poetry, has not crept for shelter 
under that wide- winged shadowing? . . . 

Late that evening the moon, a tawny thing, came up. 
The woods were black, the snow-fields barely visible, the 
sky blue-black ; it looked as if that tawny fragment, with 
its rolled and smutted edge, would do little toward light- 
ing such vast gloom and sullenness. In an hour, it sailed 
triumphant above the orchard-tops, its world all silver 
and blue! A softened silver, htfwever; a toned, delicious 
blue. I love old moons. There is something humanized 



about them; they are dulled a little, and rich in color. 
One can stare all night at an old moon. I should like a 
list of old moons in poetry, the adorable bits that have 
been written about them. In my tea-party with Brown- 
ing I came across the very finest (I had forgotten it was 
in "One Word More") ; how, as "our new crescent of a 
hair's breadth," she came 

"Curving on a sky imbrued with color, 
Drifted over Fiesole by twilight" . . . then 
". . . full she flared it, lamping Samminiato," ... till 

(and this is my bit) 

Now, a piece of her old self, impoverished, 
Hard to greet, she traverses the house-roofs, 
Hurries with unhandsome thrift of silver, 
Goes dispiritedly, glad to finish. 

Oh, the untouched gorgeousness of Browning! . . . 
and his humanity enveloping everything even a cold 
thing in the sky! There is modeling, to that sort of 
moon. She is used, worn. Not merely un-get-at-able 
brightness, aloofly glittering. That glitter can be glorious ; 
but appeal gathers about the worn, tawny thing I saw 
rise to-night. . . . Galsworthy, whose sense of beauty 
sets him quite apart among writers, uses adorable moons ; 
I think he loves best a full, new-risen one. Never, with- 
out a stir at heart, can I get by that scene in "The Country 
House" where the Squire's family, properly bedecked and 
glossy, but each one hoarding a worry, are having their 
glum and proper dinner, while ". . . Outside, through the 
long open windows . . . the full moon, tinted apricot 
and figured like a coin, hung above the cedar-trees, and 



by her light the whispering stretches of the silent fields 4 
lay half enchanted, half asleep. . . ." Many a time has 
one gloried in that very moon, but who except Galsworthy 
has had presence of mind to put it down? Truth, scenic 
or otherwise, often seems to fluster people; Galsworthy 
faces it simply, and so his touch is sure. 

# * # 

March i. 

What pleasure there is in commonplaces! Not that 
the weather is a commonplace; but it is such a lovely 
spring morning to-day, with the first clear sunshine for 
a week, and a rash thermometer at forty. On my slushy 
way out to the barn I pass my three cordial mountains 
of wood, piled for sawing, and smelling of the forest. 
Kimmie trots whinnering along his fence, wriggling his 
nose for his bucket of water. A mouthful of hay troubles 
him ; he takes one eager swallow, then lifts his head from 
the pail and slobbers painfully. After spears are dis- 
posed of he drinks again, then whirls gaily away. Bucket 
and* I proceed to the barn. 

Before me is my jasmine-blossom of a pussy, perched 
on an old gray wagon. Another jasmine sits upright on 
the snowy path the golden collie, benignly approving, 
on this fair morning, of his world and all that in it is, 
including (to judge by his expression) an approaching 
Missis. Jasmine-blossom on the cart arises, as I draw 
near; begins to card wool (on the wagon-body), scrub 
his yellow cheek on a tire, and proclaim a miscellaneous 
state of bliss. Our eyes being on a level, we beam at each 
other. As I go in one door, he rushes round by a hole 
under another* "Beat you to it!" says he, bobbing a 



facetious head at me from a beam above Cressy's neck. 
. . . Cressy is in a charming mood. Her drink this morn- 
ing is a stately one; she breathes, and absorbs, and 
breathes again, gazing into beatific distances. Wonder- 
ful, to be warm once more! And she proceeds, also 
stately, to her favorite basking-place. 

Elizabeth is at the door as I return, and hops down, 
with a caper of accomplishment. First barn pony out! 
quoth she, and water in the trough nice and high for a 
little person. The others follow, with expectations; but 
Superb waves them all away, a hind leg wave! and 
so the four youngsters, with sidewise nips of mutual tol- 
erance, await her convenience. They are a pretty crowd, 
black and white, brown, dove-tinted, their fluffy heads 
bent together over the old trough. As they lingeringly 
conclude, the horses appear, orderly and mild. Perhaps 
for them, as for me, primroses are meltingly in the air! 
(One thinks of English copses. . . .) I wonder what 
a horse's primrose is. What most means spring to him? 
The smell of sod ? A Marchiness in the wind ? Or per- 
haps just that indescribable '*. . . good gigantic smile o' 
the old brown earth," as he "sets his bones to bask i' the 
sun . . ."! 

By this time the jocose jasmine-blossom, convinced (not 
without reason) that his Missis is about to start on the 
momentous trip inward, is swarming deliriously and 
decoratively up every fence-post in sight. "Coin' with 
you when you go with you when you go !" he chants ; 
and, with rabbit-legs wildly flourishing, scoots madly be- 
fore me to the stable door. Here he halts, his eyes black 
with thrill, and demands a shoulder through the barn, but, 
alighting with a musical wop! decides, after all, that that 



bright smell of mouse by the grain-chest needs seeing to. 
He scrooches and stares. I leave him. 

The other jasmine, having waited patiently in a wet 
path all this time (collies never do mind what they sit 
on), greets me as if after a month's absence and follows 
twistingly, treading on my heels. Reaching the porch, I 
tell him it is just the morning for nice dogs to stay out 
whereat his face falls; but on my recommending the 
pretty sunshine, all warm for Gli, and nice straw see ? 
by the hay barn, he waves a consenting tail and departs. 
. . . Traversing the porch, I next pass that demure green- 
painted box within which reside the season's relics tin 
cans, or other containers, furnishing an almost complete 
record of a winter's dietary; lifting the lid, the onlooker 
might adjudge as a favored menu so copious are their 
remains canned peas, salmon, and lamp-chimneys! 

Once more, my squirrel has been interfering with break- 
fast. A fretfulness against the sky and there he was, 
licking Alpha again.^ ... It must be sap. For to-day 
snow is melting, every hoof-print is a brimming cup. This 
time, too, he was licking the tops of the branches just as 
avidly as the underneath. He was finicky about it riot 
studious and earnest as the day before ; dashed here and 
there, appeared now on this side, now on that, of the 
trunk; one moment hanging suspended low over the 
syringa bush, the next silhouetted against a cloud. . . . 
It certainly must be sap; for, at the end of a wild, 
tonguing whirligig among twigs, he whopped down on a 
solid limb, evidently feeling sticky. Ablutions furiously 
began paws, whiskers, his left side; then the tip of his 
tail, fiercely seized in little hands. . . . And then he saw 
me at the window. He froze. His tail at once ascended 



the curve of his back, and he sat up, silent, but with fear- 
ful eyes peering at me, and two anxious little hands 
clasped, as is the touching way of squirrels, over his heart. 
Soon he relaxed, reversed on the limb, bounced up and 
down, whopped beneath it, bobbed up again, licked a 
farewell lick, and was down-the-trunk-and-across-the- 
snow ! before one could wink. 

But he is after sap, and I am not sorry for him any 
more. To-day I shall taste a maple twig myself. I fear 
Alpha must be leaking ! 

* * * 

March 2. 

This morning my dear little friend, upon whom I rely 
for breakfast entertainment, behaved in a most uncalled- 
for and grievous way. While sitting, an ingratiating 
bunch of red fur, placidly licking a branch, he looked up 
for just an instant and flew into a paroxysm of rage! 
Grouping all his feet, he danced up and down, with furi- 
ous tail-jerkings, mad chattering of teeth. Ceasing to 
bounce, he began merely, endlessly, but with a wonderful 
effect of menace, shuffling those clutching, clinching feet; 
then, sitting back, let loose all his powers. He raved, 
cursed, swore, chippered, gibbered, swore again, then 
flick! disappeared. I went to the window. Nothing was 
in sight ; nothing more inimical than landscape. Boo was 
asleep in his chair. . . . Was this exhibition simply a 
variation in the usual allegretto mood of my small per- 
former, and for effect only? If so, he could give points 
on passion to Wagnerian conductors. What a baton that 
tail would make ! 

This is the windy but blissful month I expected to 


spend in the tops of apple-trees, pruning. One year I 
spent six weeks there, constructing a pile of brush, 
branches, and suckers as big as a bungalow. One night 
we set fire to it; it lit up the mountain world like a 
beacon. . . . Pruning in an ancient orchard is such a 
jolly thing to do. You have sneakers on and dance all 
over the tall old trees (from which you never knew the 
mountains were so beautiful) ; the cat climbs with you, 
the wind blows your ladder down, and it is altogether 
lovely. Boo-boo, with many pr-ows, always wants to play 
with the twig I am sawing ; the birds don't mind him a 
bit. They fly about me all day long. I never was so 
intimate with bluebirds before. In its cleft below the 
orchard our little brook with the surprisingly big water- 
fall is shouting very loud; and my beloved November 
coloring, pink fields, purple woodlands, deep-blue hills, 
has come again though still with the tang of snow-drifts 
in the air. 

So now, when I can't saw, I view my suckery trees 
with sorrow. Poor dears, they need trimming so ! Last 
year, all summer long, we had "purples to go with our 
greens" enough to satisfy any artist; it irked our agri- 
cultural eyes extremely. So many artistic things do. An 
old barn roof with moss on it lovely ! but it means wet 
hay. Devil's paint-brush (the killingest of weeds) in 
brilliant dashes on the fields; everlasting silvering the 
pasture slopes; an oat-patch golden with kale all sins! 
and all lovely. Artists should sit on a dune or a desert, and 
stay there ; then they would not be tormented by having 
to do ugly, salutary things to landscape. By having, as 
I have here, two competing "soul-sides ..." "one to run 
a farm with, one to know a picture when one sees it !" 



if one may wickedly paraphrase. ... I love the big 
greening tree with one side dead scraggly and purple 
against a pasture hillside; yet I should have that purple 
half removed. I did so enjoy the corn barn with its 
gray, lichened, curling, century-old shingles, twice as 
thick as modern ones, and fastened with square, hand- 
wrought nails bronze-colored from age; but they had to 
be stripped off and a smug coat of new, uninteresting 
ones put on, and, though our bins are now prudently dry, 
I miss those hoary shingles every time I pass. . . . And 
so, now that I cannot shear the purples from my aged 
trees, I look at them with regret, yet with a certain tre- 
mendous complacence. Now, for another year at least, 
I can have those nice scraggly shapes against that hilL 
And I made an ungrammatical proverb : It 's an ill wood- 
pile that does n't trip up somebody for their good ! 

March 5. 

For days we have been melting; temperature at forty, 
brooks shouting, everything running away in streams. 
(A new version of "The Roaring Forties.") Wet, yel- 
low gravel is showing on our hill. On the pasture a semi- 
circle of grass is fairly out in the sun; greenishness is 
visible! And in our woods such brown banks have 
emerged, with ferns pressed close upon them hardy 
ferns, still green after a winter's flattening. Full twenty 
exciting feet of wet gravel show down the pitches a sad 
prospect for Dolly and the sleigh, .but otherwise delicious. 
(Dolly and the sleigh, compared to one's first mud, are 

On the stretches of clear ice, squirrels have scattered 


assistance in the shape of myriad hemlock-cones, red- 
brown and clinging. Their seed-vessels are sprayed over 
the gray ice-coating. And how golden-green, in this warm 
sunshine, the branches of the hemlocks ! Quite different 
from their midwinter coloring; and the arch of the hill- 
road beneath them, as I looked up it, was newly beautiful 
under that warm swaying. 

Last night the wind was straight out of the south, and 
very warm and salt. "The sea, boy !" I told Goliath ; and 
we both stood, sniffing. When, after years by the shore 
or in harbor cities, we first came here, I missed the sea 
the great flat blue, the scent and splash of it. From my 
little house on a dune we had seen everything it could 
do. It threw wrecks in our front yard, rang a bell-buoy 
at us, reflected sunsets, and put wild color on our garden 
flowers. Also it sang songs, tore up a creek and back 
again, and sent salt smells into the house, requiring light- 
houses, too, to be set up here and there, to wink diversely 
at us. There were five. We loved those lighthouses 
indeed, the sea's whole program, including the daily drain- 
ing of our neighbor, the salt marsh, till only round pools 
were left, containing tommy-cod. The dogs spent all 
their energies on those tommy-cod. Even our cat took 
to fishing, and sat daily on the edge of the pools, coming 
home with her arms wet to the elbows. (Boo-boo has yet 
to put his nerves to that test!) 

In the mountains we miss all that; but with the right 
wind still comes that faithful breath of saltness, and in the 
woods any wind will give you the steady roar of the surf. 
I hear it suddenly, sometimes, and look hastily through 
my paper for the shipping news: "Highland Light" 
(how it used to wink on our front door!), "wind N.E., 



cloudy, observation ten miles, sea smooth." That weather 
man is an artist. How often we have stood on those wet 
cliffs, with "observation ten miles, sea smooth"! The 
ship news is now my gallery of marines. Sea rough, sea 
smooth; misty, clear; wind high or low pictures, all. 
When it is "sea smooth," you can please yourself as to 
color ; but when it 's "rough," with clouds, stormy gray- 
green, slashings of white, dark-purple in the hollows, 
who needs to be told how it looks then? Or how the 
fishing-boats come scudding round Race Point? ... I 
used to sit on the hard, wave-fattened sand of that last-of- 
all Points, sketching them, the under-shore falling away 
sheer and green at my feet, for great ships can come in 
near, there, and Europe just across the way. . , . A 
fine feeling. I love an edge. 

March 9. 

Still we are melting and running away in streams. 
Five days of rain, cloud, and hot fog; my road is im- 
passable for sleigh or wagon. The narrow sled-track is 
deep mud, and at wagon-width begins unfathomed soft 
snow. Dolly would faint if asked to attempt either. On 
my last horseback trip Polly fell with me so many times 
my clever, high-stepping Polly! that I have abandoned 
even her services, and rubber boots are now one's medium 
of travel. It is at least a little simpler to fall down 
oneself, than via a horse. 

Last evening, "in the pauses of the rain/' I began to 
want my inauguration paper very much. It had already 
reclined in the box for a day or two. And still worse I 
wanted, in these foggy solitudes, a letter from my child. 



So Goliath, very optimistic, and I (rather dubious), set 
out. The slope to the road was the first problem ; a slant 
of sheer ice. One slid and lighted upon a saving rim of 
turf. A few steps upon that, and terrors began; sloopy 
yellow mud in which one gliddered almost anywhere, 
treacherous ice along its edge, a snow-gutter which now 
held, now plunged one to the authentic depths. I tried 
the snow-field; a day too late. The chewing fog had 
undermined it. So, half crashing, half sliding, one made 
one's desperate way down to the three elms usually a 
limit of troubles, for there deep drifts begin. Polly 
falls down here, so one has nice big wallow-places to 
depend on. 

But to-day it was all ice. The three elms, however, 
looked benignly down; I started gaily forward. Si-loop! 
and one foot shot a yard beyond the other. Righting 
myself with a gasp, I began again. Every track, every 
Undulation, was newly iced. Prickly ice, bumpy ice, 
glare ice. Not a golosh remained where it was set. The 
"fancy dances" of my youth came into play, as I wabbled 
and lurched the technique of the hornpipe and the High- 
land fling ; and after what seemed hours of tottering, leap- 
ing, and recovering, I attained the hemlocks. Blessed be 
cones, and the squirrels that strewed them! For a few 
strides there was real walking, but outside of the shadows 
desperation once more began. At the turn of the rtiad 
Goliath was waiting for me, turning a mild eye upon these 
antics which yet took so long to arrive, as his mistress 
came hornpiping through the fog ; a pretty, pale-gray dog, 
a dream-dog, darkening into reality as I neared him ; then, 
with a relieved flick of the tail, dashing away into oblivion 
once more. 


Dusk had now become darkness as near darkness as 
the white pallor would let it. Plenty of light in the dis- 
tance ; none at one's feet ! Was that black place a hole 
or only mud? Were there helpful bumps in that gray- 
ness, or was it glaring smooth? The black places were 
the worst ; on adventuring them, one crashed through into 
a nether world of running brooks careering over layers 
of ice, the slipperier from its wateriness. One's world 
seemed made of crevasses and shocks ; and when at last 
I clanged open the lid of the mail-box it was to feel the 
inauguration paper reclining there in solitary state. Not 
a letter! 

Gli looked up in surprise, at my moan. Was it for 
that, these darkling struggles? for the wealth of banality 
doubtless contained within that yellow wrapper? The 
breakfast menu of our revered President, the degree of 
stripes in the official trousers? . . . 

But on our way home there was the ghost-beauty of 
everything. Soft black blobs for spruces; the winding, 
fog-gentled road ; and always the vivid wet-soundingness 
of the brook, turbulent, noisy, and intensely fluid. I felt 
as if it were running down my back! It seemed as if 
some use should be made of all this energy thus galloping 
to waste; I stopped in the road, quite oppressed by it. 
"Have a drink of water, Gli!" I suggested. And when he 
merely stood beside me and stared, "Oh, do have some!" 
I cried peevishly. "There 's such a lot of it!" then burst 
into laughter at my own silliness ; at which he kissed my 
hand, beat me with his tail, and began to look for a stick 
as I could tell even in the dusk, by the quick turns of his 
head. I ceased suggesting. At that moment the responsi- 
bility of a stick would have been intolerable! 


The ice on the pitches was greasier than ever. No 
Matterhorn, to the well-spiked Alpine climber, could have 
been more arduous than those gray hills to the unadorned 
golosh, till Goliath, like a rescuing St. Bernard, offered 
a collar for my assistance: "Help Big Missis up the 
hill!" at which a willing tail wagged in my face as I 
bent, while ardent claws scratched and tore at the ice. 
When he choked, we stopped. 

* # # 

March 12. 

Such a shouting and rioting of mad waters was never 
heard before ! The paddock is a turbulent lake ; there is 
a lively brook on the second terrace; and, as for the 
proper avenues of flood, the waterfall in the woods by 
the orchard, the stream in the east mowing, or the rill 
through the upper swamp, "there is no speech nor lan- 
guage where their voice is not heard !" By the horse barn 
this morning, looking out over the braided stretch of 
waters, I stood fairly appalled by the clamor. That blue- 
black mill-race across the paddock where later our inno- 
cent horses doze! . . . The first robin was quit-quitting 
from a maple, a grosbeak sent out his delicious warble 
from the top of the tall balsam, where he sat, happily 
turning the rose-color of his breast and a black-velvet 
head. Dearest of all, a pair of bluebirds were flashing 
about the orchard, gurgling their song above the rampant 
noises of the flood. They were so blossom-blue! their 
notes, after winter silence, so unbelievable. 

It seems all wrong that they are here. Brown patches 
are gaining ; the earth is mottled like a leopard-skin ; but 
drifts surround us still. My path to the barn is a glacial 



ridge. Cinnamon roses are sitting in a foot of ice; and 
through the orchard I can see the mountain mowing 
rising sheer, white, arctic, untouched. Bird-food must 
be almost ungettable. The ground is still frozen. And 
what does a spring robin eat but worms? On the decep- 
tive brown grass I see them running and sitting up, run- 
ning and sitting up, but never a pounce and a pull. They 
fly a great deal, poor dears, and proclaim loudly from the 
tops of trees, but their happiest "time-to-get-up" music 
I have not heard ; chirps and quit-quits only. 

A day or two ago I saw, at sunset, a beautiful flight of 
fifty or more of them, fleeting over the rim of a brown 
knoll, the rich sun full on their breasts. The flight was 
just over my head, and the beat of their many wings 
heart-stirring. Whir-whir whir-whir-whir! ... I 
never dreamed of robins so red. Stabs of color against 
the rich sky; and little fists of feet nicely curled under 
them. They flew into a sumac grove, and seemed to be 
eating. Sumac berries within ; the crimson of sumac on 
their feathers . . . surely well-matched and consistent 
robins ! 

The bluebirds are entirely happy, flitting from one tree 
to another in the orchard. Doubtless the bug-inhabitants 
of a March apple-tree are just as reachable as those of 
April, living up in the air and being limbered by warm 
sun. But if I were a worm and lived in cold mud I should 
crawl out as early as possible if I remembered what 
sun was. . . . Only worms don't like sun. They like 
doing hari-kari on brick sidewalks after a rain. In the 
city I always worry about worms. They seem to have 
so few defenses. Far preferable to be a well-installed 
country worm, and perish, after due struggle, in a beak! 



The barn-yard is seizing the opportunity for an orgy 
of loathliness. Armored beneath with solid ice, it pre- 
sents a surface of about three inches of splosh mud and 
fertilizer, garnished with miry straws. The ponies are 
a sight. Occasionally one of them slips down in this 
compound, rising disgustedly, a dripping mess. Bad Don- 
linna, pursuing Elizabeth, precipitated the poor baby into 
the very worst of it. Elizabeth gave herself a rueful 
shake and picked her way into a shed; all one side was 
a mass of horrid mud. Donny eyed her as she went; 
compunctiously, I think. . . . Even the most roily of the 
ponies now refrain from that exercise, and it is with diffi- 
culty even in the frozenness of early morning that I 
can pick out a clean spot to put their breakfast on. -They 
do so hate having it in the same shed where they spent 
the night! The avalanche under the shadow of the pig 
house wall is the only possible place a frozen ridge above 
the welter of the yard ; so there I string out their festoons 
of hay, and rapturously fresh and green it looks in the 
frosty sunshine. Below, the avalanche drains away into 
a forbidding pool, the color of a cypress swamp, but not 
so pleasant, and upon the snowy oasis stand the break- 
fasters, each one trying to chew faster than his neighbor. 
It must be annoying to eat with a voracious competitor 
always at one's elbow ! Of late a certain tried expression, 
I notice, comes into their eyes as I put down the hay a 
look of strain. The long winter is telling even on Shet- 
land cheerfulness. What a wonder their wide pasture will 
be to them next month! For, by the way the brown 
knolls are coming out, it looks as if in April they can 
gallop out into freedom. 

But now, I am sorry for them. They hear the cawing 


of the excited crows ; they listen to songs and chipperings 
in the wild cherry-tree ; yesterday I saw Ocean Wave, her 
pretty white stockings dark with mud, standing on the salt 
rocks and following, with wistful eyes, the dipping flight 
of a blue-bird above -the sheds. . . . Everything feeds 
their longing; as a pressed flower made me long for a blue 
river and a sniff of a Cherokee rose, just so the sight of a 
bare knoll allures them now. They lean over the bars of 
the pasture lane and watch the brook in the hollow froth- 
ing among its stones ; they scent the tiny spears of green 
on the tufts of the paddock bog; and they sigh, and nip 
each other, and are very sad. 

They take it out, I grieve to say, in pawing, the mud 
having reached that heavenly state wherein slight, soiled 
traces of last summer's grass are attainable to the per- 
severing hoof. Superb spends her entire day, with head 
curbed in and fore foot threateningly lifted, exhuming 
treasure from certain precincts she guards, fiercely, as 
her own. Paw, paw, paw! then wuddle-wuddle with 
one's nose in the hole ; then a pleased, lip-sifting munch 
at the resultant muddy rootlets. . . . "How can they?" 
one thinks, turning affiictedly away. But it is one of the 
spring styles among ponies, like marbles for boys; the 
yard is dotted with searchers; Bally Beg, the small and 
fervent, is standing over a pet hole by the fence putting 
his whole soul into this pursuit as he does into every- 
thing; Sir Dignity is mud to the elbows; Fascination can 
hardly be budged from the rich trove he has discovered 
(at the price of a very wet back) under the dripping eaves 
of the shed; and even Elizabeth gives a poke here and 
there as she wanders idly about. Everybody, in fact, is 
blessedly busy, and I haven't the heart to interfere; for 



lack of occupation is the worst feature of their winter, 
and this activity half actual, half prophetic fills them 
with hope. They chew fences no longer, but have simply 
settled down to mud. When it dries up they will be all 
the merrier, for then even more heartfelt excavation 
will be necessary. "Art for art's sake," they cry; 
". . . the very immolation makes the bliss!" 

Elizabeth, poor darling, has not been feeling well of 
late. Mud cannot be good for her. I found her with 
swollen eyes one morning so swollen that she could 
hardly see, but stood very still, fronting me mournfully. 
Dropping my fork in dismay, I knelt down on the straw 
to condole with her. The eyes had not been kicked, for 
they were not filmed over; but there is horse-distemper 
in the village, one or two of the ponies are coughing, and 
forebodings possess me. One year we had thirty of 
them down with distemper, which has a way of expressing 
itself in abscesses on the ponies' heads and necks; one 
foal had nine of these visitations at once. ... So I ex- 
amined the baby dolorously. She cheered up a little as 
she went out into the air, but, just as she was picking 
her way up to the salt-rocks, some rollicking person 
bumped into her, and she rolled completely down the 
miry slope. Poor baby ! This would never do ! so I led 
her and a very unwilling mother into the dry barn. 

All day long she (Irooped, lying in a little mournful 
heap (Elizabeth usually scorns to lie down!), refusing 
her grain, or indeed anything but a bran mash with 
salt in it, which it takes a very sick pony to resist. Next 
morning her eyes were open, but a swollen ridge had pre- 
sented itself down one side of the little face. I fingered 
it in perplexity. "Wolf -tooth, Elizabeth?" I murmured; 



and explored inside to Elizabeth's vast disgust, but 
without finding anything wrong. Such a funny little 
mouth, with half-through teeth here and there, a little 
pale-pink tongue, hardly large enough to take hold of (as 
is the rude habit of investigating humans!) and a deli- 
cate web of "lampas" on the roof. Of course, as I peered, 
a desperate champing and head-twisting was going on, 
but I held and petted her till alarm subsided and a white- 
rimmed eye had ceased rolling up at me in terror. . . . 
Not for very much would one forfeit a baby's regard and 
confidence, which one had been all winter in gaining. 
Last autumn she was as wild as a bird. . . . 

All that day she prescribed naps for herself, selecting 
a pile of hay and curling down on it with fuzzy little 
knees folded under her chin. At noon she nibbled at 
an oat or two taken from my hand ; and by the next day 
was quite a plucky baby again, with requests to go out 
into the March sunshine, which had come out for her 
benefit. The eyes were cured, the swollen jaw had sub- 
sided and I have no idea what was the matter with 
Elizabeth unless, indeed, it was Mud! 

The upper slopes of the yard are now partly drying 
off, and my anxieties at rest. The ponies had mere tem- 
peramental coughs nothing serious ; and if one of them 
wants to be dry and dean there J s a place to be dry in! 

This morning Donlinna decided that, at all costs, a 
roll must be had. So, in front of the pony shed, with 
many groans and turnings around, and discontented paw- 
ings in unsatisfactory material, she lumped down. . . <. 
Legs in the air! then up, with a horrified hop. Her 
weight had squeezed the water out of that dry-looking 
ground, a_nd Ppnlinna arose, a sight ior. gods and. 



one sheet of tan-colored mud. But a person has got to 
feel alike all over; and, bump! down on the other side she 
went. In an instant she jumped up, dirtier and more dis- 
gusted than ever. She ran a few steps, flopped down 
again, found it still wetter, and leaped up with an angry 
swash of her tail. She galloped to a remote fence and 
frantically tried once more ; but this spot felt even worse, 
and so she again hopped up, and looked desolately about 
her. . . . An idea flashed into her head ; her eyes bright- 
ened, and she set off at a trot for the salt-rocks. Ha! 
a dry place at last ! and she luxuriously groveled ; but, as 
her coat was by this time thoroughly soaked, the dusty 
earth imbedded itself the more firmly. Intolerable ! and, 
after a prolonged shake, she stared furiously round, 
finally, with a queer little sound almost a bray of ap- 
peal, trotting up and pushing a muddy nose into my coat- 
front: "Help me!" 

"Donny dear !" I protested, backing, "I can't brush you 
till you 're dry, you know !" and petted her delicately, in 
the only clean place left, the under curve of her throat. 

At this the temperamental ears went back : "Oh, very 
well!" and with a fling she departed, kicking, for the 
rocks. The other horses and ponies, meanwhile, were 
frankly staring at these madnesses ; especially small Eliza- 
beth, who, perched by the upper wall, was having very 
wise ears on the subject. She has a personal interest 
in the capers of her big chum; and, when Donny again 
sought the solace of a rub in the dry earth, Elizabeth 
(with deeply humorous eyelashes) descended, leaped in 
the air, and delivered a perfectly stupendous kick about 
as hard as a humming-bird's upon those writhing hips. 
... On other occasions, Donlinna had overlooked this; 



but this time, when the big colt rose, it was to make an 
instant dart at that small blond impudence poised de- 
risively above her on a rock, and the two went wild- 
westing about the muddy slopes, up and down, back and 
forth, till poor Elizabeth's woolly sides were heaving. 

Just as I was dashing to her aid, the Maharajah, be- 
hind whom she had bolted for refuge, decided to inter- 
vene. Raising a lofty head, he confronted the incensed 
mare ; then with a bound he met her, and a beautiful duel 
ensued. For a moment they fenced, agilely, with their 
heads ears back, eyes bitter; then they nipped at each 
other's fore legs, % dropping gracefully on one knee to avoid 
the threatened bite. At last they reared, a lovely sight 
coats gleaming in the sun, necks curved, fierce eyes flash- 
ing, and struck out with clumsy hoofs, at last losing 
their tempers, and coming to plain kicking and squealing! 

Elizabeth had departed; but, looking back, I saw a 
blond head peeping delicately from a shed door, with 
behind it a black blot Thalma, for once personally chap- 
eroning the rashness of her intrepid child. 

During the time of fog and flood and rain, one grew 
engagingly low on food again. The barrenest pantry! 
But I searched its shelves and always found something. 
(It is strange, what simple things satisfy, when one gets 
out of the habit of expecting crabs and watercress round 
the corner!) Anything, rather than the trip over that 
harrowing road. I had days of substituting for bread; 
I even cooked cereal for breakfast which I despise. It 
gives one a muffly feeling inside ; and of all things, in the 
morning, I like a clear feeling best I had other days 
of existing entirely on spaghetti. Partly because I sup- 
posed it would be quick. But either Fanny was optimistic 



about the time it takes spaghetti to cook, or it was elderly 
spaghetti; at any rate, it might have been the prolonged 
and dreary potato, for all the speed I got out of it. ... 
And then it was tough. 

But I read back-pages of manuscript and forgot what 
I was eating; amusing rain-storms came and beat at us; 
and Boo-boo sat on the window-ledge and washed his face 

I owe a lot to that small rabbit-person this winter; 
my carol-singer, orchestra at meals, Sunday chimes- 
over-the-roofs all, all Boo-boo! And a daily moral 
support, besides. The sight of absolute contentment is 
contagious; and such a sight is Boo-boo, proceeding 
valiantly about his little cat duties, doling out to himself 
his stint of cellar-guarding, or barn-watching so much 
to the cow stable and the stalls, then a circuit of lofts, 
beams, and sheds then, on an inner time-table that never 
fails, trotting his stubby legs into the house to keep his 
Missis company; out again to oversee a possible rat in 
the banking, or the piles of wood; and in, at last, for 
supper and orchestral purring beside my chair. All this 
is an inspiring spectacle; and the nightly vision of that 
orange statuette face-washing, perched on a pile of manu- 
script, with satisfaction in every curve of him, has put 
a smile in one's most lonely moments. 

* * # 

March 19. 

Waking every morning to that rich warble of blue- 
birds, loveliest of the early bird-notes, I feel as if winter 
my winter were really gone. A ^faint green spreads 
along the edge of favored mowings; veils of dimmest 



green have fallen in hollows in the pasture. Yard and lane 
are brightening every day. Buds on the elderberry are 
pale and swollen ; can it be that they will show leaves in 
early April? That is the time when Vermont is usually 
just thinking about getting rid of her snow-drifts! Ah, 
if so, then will come a rebuking frost, and those rash 
leaves will have fried edges, nicely browned and shriveled. 
I hope at least the orchard will be wise. Fried edges on 
apple-blossoms are serious. We had them one year. We 
also had no apples. . . . 

Yesterday I rode my horse frankly over the garden, 
but respectfully around the asparagus bed. One can 
never tell when pink shoots will surprise one. In the 
garden was as fine a chicory plant as I ever saw, bright 
green, and a month ahead of time. Also, in the borders 
of the plum-orchard at least one thousand youthful speci- 
mens of that pretty weed with glowing yellow blossoms 
(which I fondly used to think a Vermont wild flower) 
were growing splendidly, poking their blue-green heads 
above the brown leaves and from the crannies of an old 
wall. It is an artistic plant which might be a wild flower ; 
indeed, it has almost a green-house texture of leaf and 
petal, but I suppose its persistence makes it a weed. 
Weeds must be objectionable, somehow; and that, as far 
as I can see, is its only bad quality. Indeed, until a 
shocked friend saw it and said, "Oh ! are you cultivating 
that?" I had been cherishing a root of it in one corner of 
a terrace bed. It covered up a lattice nicely; and blue- 
green is charming with golden yellow. Even after that I 
watered it defiantly until the next year, when, in the 
cinnamon rose-bushes and the terrace wall and the house- 
borders and on the bank where the tiger-lilies are, arrived 



one million hilarious yellow Vermont wild flowers with 
blue-green foliage, and, though every year I cover my 
arms with scratches getting it out of the rose-bushes, and 
pull it and stamp on it and maltreat it in every possible 
way, it has leaped in revenge to the outer edges of 
things, and I now have to combat it along driveways and 
hen-houses and the rims of orchards. 

But I still think it is pretty! And at least it hasn't 
burrs, to get tangled in the ponies' manes and tails. That 
would have been the last touch! ... I have a way of 
admiring so many things that I should n't burdock, for 
one. Those rose-purple blossoms seated on bright-green 
burrs make charming bits of color. . . . But when a poor 
dear pony runs into a bush, as one of them so often does, 
poking in the bushy edges of things for choice morsels, 
and emerges with his foretop tied up into a ball, burdock- 
bumps all over him, and his tail rolled up to his hocks 
one's fondness dwindles. I shudder at the mere sight 
of a last year's stalk protruding helplessly above a drift. 

In the garden, too, I saw an infant pigweed pushing 
its delicate head beside a stone. Pigweed is something 
that comes to its magnificence just about fair-time, and 
last year we really should have taken a sample of ours to 
Agricultural Hall. It was a winner, the pigweed of a 
bad dream. Taller than I, stocky, branched like an up- 
land spruce, it needed a team of horses to draw it out of 
the ground. In this glorious soil one gets used to colossal 
vegetables, and flowers that stare one out of countenance, 
but a weed of these giant dimensions seems more than 
merely exaggerated; it gives one horrible visions of a 
sort of horticultural Brobdingnag, dominating a terrified 
plant-world. . . . 



I have a special grudge against pigweed, because in its 
tender youth it so resembles a baby sweet pea plant. 'More 
than once, in a luxury of spring weeding, damp brown 
earth, the day cool, weeds filmy and inoffensive, I have 
pulled up a future member of my sweet pea row, mis- 
taking it for one of its pigweed neighbors. Simple mean- 
ness, in a weed, to imitate something you love ! . . . How 
I mourned over a baby King Edward, monarch of all 
crimsons, slain by my own hand ! It was too tiny to set 
out again; I just had to let it die. And I had so few 
King Edwards that year. 

Our soil here being wonderful for sweet peas, for our 
first summer I devoted a patch of ground as large as a 
good-sized garden to them alone. I was going to have 
enough! having skimped myself on the Cape to a sand- 
dune allowance, with loam carted from a potato-field six 
miles away. (And one felt sinful, at that, borrowing a 
potato-field!) Nine rows, each fifty feet long, were 
planted ; and they grew and grew, all nine of them, and 
outran the twigs of their birch brush till they were waving 
clusters far above one's head. And such husky, corpulent 
rows ; not the usual attenuated drizzle : one could hardly 
stretch both arms about the ends of them. George Her- 
bert was a marvelous bloomer, a mass of rose-color 
against our mountains. There was a snow-white row, 
and one of palest pink ; a lavender, a crimson, a maroon, 
a cream-yellow, and a blue and one mixed row for 
people who like their flowers blotched and splashed, 
or else striped and edged like peppermint candy. (In a 
mixed row one gets a lot of those.) But any color was 
lovely against a setting of mountains, and the sweet peas 
did as much for the view as the view did for them. On 



gray days they lit up the whole landscape. No orange- 
grove could have been more fragrant. To walk between 
the sweetness of those rows, reaching up here and there 
to pluck a blossom out of the sky, was a blissful job. . . . 
But it was a job, when one settled down to picking. 
Two people could easily spend a morning endeavoring to 
exhaust the resources of those magnificent vines; our 
house could not hold them, nor our friends' houses ; and 
before summer was half over we were irritatedly mar- 
keting sweet peas as a farm product. It was, as I have 
said, our first season, and we were not sorry to have some- 
thing to market, but I never want to be profitable over 
flowers again. It hurts your feeling about them. You 
pick, and pick; the sun is hot, and maybe you don't feel 
like picking; but it goes to your heart to let a blossom 
fade. Market-basket after market-basket would be set 
aside in the cool of the pear-orchard, and in the last hot 
days of August, when our deep-rooted rows were still 
triumphant and unscorched, we found ourselves sighing 
for a frost! By that time the rows, from very weight 
and luxuriance, began sagging this way and that; and 
one day I had the horrible sensation of stepping on a 
luscious cluster of Senator Spencer that trailed at my 
feet. It seemed sacrilege. For I loved my sweet peas. 
It was not their fault they had become laborious ; and I 
resolved never again to make an economic burden of any- 
thing so exquisite as a flower. 

March 22. 

After weeks of running away to the sea as fast as pos- 
sible, we are drying up again. We are entirely brown! 



Only one crescent-shaped flick of snow really a deep 
drift is visible on our acres, and that in the coldest cor- 
ner of the mountain mowing, where all day it is shaded 
by woods. 

This brown, grassy landscape gives one the most de- 
lirious feelings. "I J d like to stand on my head in the 
middle of it!" I told my amused child to-day. For 
vacation is here, and a pale young thing has crept back 
to the hills after a series of vicious colds acquired in a 
steam-heated town, and has just begun, after days of 
rest, to "endure" the "joggling of the saddle"! My 
doughty, cowboy child, to whom a saddle has always been 
the keenest joy! ... But the hills are doing it. That 
valiant look for years my dependence is returning; 
the bursts of galloping over rough fields, the fearless 
jumps at anything that presents itself; that nonchalant 
seat on her horse; the laughing face turned back to 
me. . . . 

Yesterday we had almost a real ride on our own land ; 
though Polly and I, to our immense chagrin, had to stay 
back and watch the beautiful antics of Maharajah and his 
rider. Polly was so peeved, she joggled me more than if 
I had let her join in the fun, backing and fussing, yawing 
and traversing sidewise. Such fire in her old eye ! Such 
a throwing of military feet ! The Maharajah was cutting 
circles on the mountain mowing. 

"I can do that!" shouts Polly. "Let me go!" And 
she backed me straight at a woodchuck hole. As we 
rode out of the woods, Pud leaped a low bar-way at 
which she hopped up and down in such wrath that I dis- 
mounted, gave her rein to Babs, and let her have a run 
with them. 



Our woods were reminiscently crusty underfoot, but 
in the back pasture gray catkins were showing, black- 
berry shoots very crimson, the solitary pines a beautiful 
sea-green, and everywhere a bright rush of surface brooks 
from the hillside where hemlocks and white birches grow. 
(They are so lovely together, it seems as if they must 
know it!) Through all this the horses splashed, finally 
cantering (I had to let Polly go) up a slope to the birches 
and guardian blackberries of our little camp where they 
picked their way with care. Polly knows a blackberry- 
shoot as far as she can see it ; it is funny to feel her wind 
herself around them and curve her stomach in and 
out. . . . 

The shack had withstood the winter better than we 
feared, and "Does n't the kitchen look nice !" cried Babs 
admiringly. (It is an outdoor kitchen.) The stone fire- 
place was clean; the eight poplars that surround it were 
green-barked and fresh, the slender shoots of a bulb- 
plant pushing up through the gray-brown rug of leaves. 
How sweet it all smelled of cold water and leaves and 
mountain air ! And looked just ready for supper-getting. 
One could hear sticks crackling. . . . 

"Too wet!" I murmured. 

"I suppose so," sighed Babs. "Whitethroats haven't 
come yet. And it needs leaves !" 

For without a lemon-colored twinkle overhead, and a 
whitethroat sitting in it, we hardly know our camp. 
Leaflessness, to be sure, gives us a long blue line of hills 
showing through birches ; but what we have later suffices 
us. And when the poplars are yellow, birches white and 
lacy-green, our little glade jeweled with violets, then camp 
is a place to lift the heart. People in limousines drive up 



to our house through the woods and, hearing us say that, 
ask if "this is n't wild enough." 

Nothing is ; short of the Sierra ! Think of upholstery 
and a piano and china and living on a road! ... I 
sometimes regret our plentitude of belongings, and wish 
for a log cabin with one great room and a fireplace; a 
room where saddles and dogs would belong, and doilies 
be a screaming inconsistency. For we have doilies; we 
set things on centerpieces in the middle of other things. 
The house, even if it is a farm-house, seems to demand 
it. One can't treat it like a cabin. . . . 

As we rode home, twilight fell. The world looked as 
if put together with shining seams, so twinkling with rills 
were hillsides and the deep, dark valleys. After unsad- 
dling, we stood by the corn barn and watched the full 
moon rise. It rose at least an inch (sky-measure!) while 
we watched. 

"Just think," said learned Babs (all fresh from 
an astronomy book), "of the old earth's turning over 
so fast. * . . Let me see fourteen feet in a second, 
it goes!" 

It was my favorite Galsworthy moon, "tinted apricot 
and figured like a coin"; lovely, over the cocoa-colored 
woods. It stayed mellow a long time (moons usually 
grow bright too soon), and was very large, flat, and pic- 
torial. A good stage moon. As it rose it grew greener, 
but still refrained from glitter ; the sky was indescribably 
fair. Two lone planets twinkled, east and west ; a happy 
bird sat in a pear-tree, gurgling sleepily. All the spring 
sounds came to us wateriness, and little airy murmurs, 
and, far off, a faint peep that gave one a prophetic thrill 
of frogs. There is a beautiful pool of them over in the 



woods, where they sit and whisper, on April evenings, 
enough to break the heart. . . . 

In the air, too, was that cold, clean, washed smell that 
comes only in March ; of sopping meadows, brown grasses 
under clear water, streaming hillsides, mats of soaked 
leaves in the forest. The fresh wind blew it to one's 
face. As the sky darkened, the moon, ever brightening, 
tilted a knowing look downward, and at last the warm 
house windows called to us. Firelight flickered on mellow 
old ceilings; and the glowing shade of a lamp allured. 
Knowing that it shone on books, we went in. 

Regularly, with evening, comes a booky feeling ; that is 
a great thing about life in the country. A fire, a lamp, 
and across the table a dear person similarly buried one 
asks no more. And people inquire if one is not dull in 
the evenings! Sometimes a need for prescribed sound 
comes upon me, and (though all day I have been in music) 
I go to the piano which just now has a horrid tinniness 
in the upper notes; but there are plenty of contralto 
things to play. In fact I specially like themes carried 
with the left, or tenor, thumb, while circumambient rip- 
plings or chords proceed around it. There is some- 
thing clinging, lingering, in the stroke of a thumb; it 
seems to wipe tone out of an instrument. And my piano 
is good, in that register of the tenor thumb. It does fire- 
music, and andantes ; and any songs whose melody is car- 
ried in the inside of the accompaniment. ... All songs 
should be written that way, for then they can be played. 
. . . Experts speak of hens that are kind enough to be 
"general-purpose birds" ; why not general-purpose songs ? 
Songs are usually unfit for whistling indeed, whistling 
(except to the person doing it) is unbearable; so, when 



one is very fond of song music, one feels gratitude to the 
discerning composer who allows his theme to be playable. 
So nice of him ! I quite purr as I play. The piano seems 
in good humor, too, consenting to nuances unknown to 
its darker moods. For on foggy days this instrument 
balks in the lower parts; one develops a technique not 
only of successfully pressing notes down but of pulling 
them up when they stick ! Where fogs last for days, as 
at the shore, one grows expert at this ; but quite out of 
practice here, our fogs being pretty, blowy, sunrise things 
that play a little with mountains and valleys, then run 
away. If they linger, it is generally in decorative dabs 
and fragments, changing and moving always, so that if 
anything thick really settles down on us we know it is 
a cloud and are interested, not annoyed. It seems quite 
worth while having a cloud walking round one's house 
interfering with one's piano. 

March 27. 

A pair of juncos were hopping about the grass this 
morning, perking and congratulating themselves. Juncos 
are such chunky, jolly, satisfied little birds; and they 
twirled in the rose-bushes, and picked invisible morsels 
here and there, trilling their pretty trills of contentment 

To my great delight, a day or two ago, our phoebe 
greeted me. She flew from the porch to the balsam-tree, 
and phoebed at me while I watered Kim. She seemed to 
think a pony in the back yard an excellent idea. Her 
mate was flying in and out of the carriage shed, 
meditating a nest. It is so good to have the friendly 



things around again ! All the birds seem very confiding ; 
the perkiest song-sparrow in all the world, I am sure, 
was demonstrating under my windows the other morn- 
ing. There had been days of rain, and the packed leaves 
were annoyingly soggy; but he was getting something 
from under their edges, and his problem was how to 
ruffle those wet edges up enough. Apparently he could 
not stand on one tiny leg and scratch, like a hen that 
was too pedestrian to suit the mood of a song-sparrow; 
so with incredible quickness he hopped back and forth, 
back and forth, in the space of an inch or less, dragging 
his toes on the backward hop. A lovely and original way 
to scratch leaves ; so much gayer than leaning on one leg 
and agriculturally hoeing with the other ! And he looked 
so indescribably dear doing it, with his brown tail slanted 
up like a wren's, and those threads of legs dancing! 

Robins are now appearing en mass.e. There must have 
been a hundred of them, all singing, in the terrace maples 
to-day; I opened the door to a chorus of song. One 
hears of them in the South like that, but New England 
usually has them in smaller groups. I like robins en 
masse. Seeing them perched in Alpha and Omega, I 
thought of that famous but insulting line, 

Bare ruined choirs, where once the sweet birds sang . . . 

a beautiful line, which sends shivers of appreciation down 
me; but the shivers are merely literary. The line is un- 
true! A leafless tree is lovely thoughtfully arranged 
to see mountains through, and no more ruined than a 
concert-hall between concerts. . . . But it is joyful, I 
admit, to have the choristers back again ; and the breasts 
of my hundred robins were imposingly bright in the sun. 



I hope this does not mean that they are still in flight, 
and are going on, the whole hundred of them, to the 
north. We want them till the orioles come ; for an oriole, 
in the liquid contralto of his tones, is a glorified robin, 
and continues our immediate thrushiness far into the hot 
weather. Real thrushes and an occasional robin-cousin 
sing in our woods all summer ; but orioles bring their 
fluting close about the house, having an enchanting way 
of alighting on the tips of the sweet pea brush and holding 
forth from there. A decorative custom! considerably 
more charming than those painted birds on sticks, which 
it is the fashion to insert above one's flower-beds. . . . 
Put up a sweet pea hedge, instead, and you will find real 
birds perching. Brush seems irresistible. Even hum- 
ming-birds come to rest on it, and flash their jeweled color 
at the flowers. 

* * * 

March 24. 

Spring fever has attacked the ponies. I was afraid 
it would. They think it must be the middle of May, 
and I can just see them discussing, irritatedly, why it is 
that "she" has n't taken down those pasture bars yet. 

"Ridiculous !" said Ocean Wave firmly. "Here it has 
been positively hot for weeks, and we are still moldering 
in this old yard. Mucky place! I loathe the very sound 
of my hoofs squshing in it. ... The lane is green. I 
can smell it." 

"Yes," agreed Kindness languidly. "And I feel all 
queer. My legs are like strings. I J m getting so I simply 
hate this hay she brings out for us every day ; hay, hay, 
hay. I won't eat it. I '11 eat mud or fences ! . . . Ho ! 
don't believe they're very strong, these fences! D'ye 


see this one, when I push it?" and she gave it a shove 
with her chest. The other ponies, perceiving what was 
in the wind, gathered eagerly around. 

"Back you up!" cried young Carrick Dare, with shin- 
ing eyes and an incipient foretop sticking out straight, 
which gave him an amusingly aggressive look, "we '11 
go wherever you do!" and they crowded close. Kind- 
ness, with a new light in her eye, hooked her chin over 
a board. 

"It wiggles!" she cried. "Kind o j splintery on the 
edge ; but I J ve got a pretty good beard still. Was wish- 
ing, the other day, it would shed ; but now I 'm glad it 
hasn't. . . . Ouch! there she comes!" and the board, 
splintering, fell. Ocean Wave trotted briskly up. 

"Let me see!" she commanded. She measured her 
chest against the remaining rails. "Too high !" she com- 
mented, turning acidly to Kindness. "All very well for 
you, with your long spindle-legs you 're so proud of 
but we can't jump that!" and she frowned displeasedly. 
Kindness faced her, laying her ears back and swashing her 

"Tell you what!" struck in little Bally Beg, Bally 
hates rows, "there 's a place Errands and me was lookin' 
at yesterday, down beyond the trough. We only worked 
at it a little, but I believe we could make a hole there if 
we tried. . . . We could crawl through; and you," he 
added tactfully, to the tall pony looking down on him 
with scorn, "you could jump, if you 'd rather. You can 
jump 'most anything!" 

So the committee followed him to his hole. Ocean 
Wave, twisting her head sidewise, stuck it through a little 
way, then jerked it out again, "Doa't like thatf* she 


said, drawing up one nostril disgustedly. "Too low. . . a 
What d'ye think I am a caterpillar?" 

"Let me try !" begged Carrick Dare. He is a middle- 
sized pony, the first child of Thalma the Bullet and a 
most inconvenient animal to keep in, seeming able to 
crawl where the smallest ones do, or leap with the tallest. 
He inserted his head ; his eyes gleamed, as he sawed back 
and forth. "Oo, what a place for a scratch!" he mur- 
mured; "oo-oo!" The ponies waited patiently behind 
him. He sawed and sawed. The boards bent a little, 
made hopeful cracking sounds ; Errands and Bally moved 
up, stretching their noses longingly toward the whiffs of 
grass. . . . And still Carrick sawed. 

"Pooh!" exploded Kindness, wheeling away. "Not 
going to wait all day for him to scratch his silly neck ! . . . 
Come on, let 's try that bar-way over there. I saw Her 
doing something to it the other day. Maybe it 's getting 
weak !" and a dozen of them poured hopefulty across the 
yard, leaving the absorbed three at Bally's hole. The bar- 
way leads into the lane, and is only a makeshift, taken 
down in summer ; in winter, drifts are its able allies, but 
now, bedded only in soft earth, it is in rather precarious 
condition, and Babs and I had spent hours the day before, 
propping it up. We are always sorry when those drifts 
go ! The ponies gathered before it. Kindness and Ocean 
walked up and down its length, inspecting and planning; 
then Kindness, pausing, delivered herself of a theory. 
(Being our champion climber, she has a right to 

"I don't believe it 's much good," she said, scuffing at 
her ear with one hind toe," trying to just push things, 
or wiggle 'em. It used to be but She fixes 'em too often 



now. . . . You 've got to bang 'em ! Just go bang, all 
together, and see what happens." 

"Suits me!" said forceful Ocean briefly. "It's what 
I Ve been trying to tell you for the last month . . ." and 
the two walked off conferring and snuffing at the 
rails. . . . Remembering my everlasting noon potatoes, 
which were in the oven, I darted into the house. "They 
won't do it for a minute or two yet !" I gasped, flinging 
open the oven door, being met by the gratifying scent of a 
baked potato that is "just right," and rolling them hastily 
into a bowl. Then I dashed out again. Kim, who is my 
guinea-hen among ponies and makes a frightful noise if 
any of them get out, was looking interestedly over his 
fence, but so far in silence. Half-way to the barn, how- 
ever, a crash came to my ears. 

"Sp-spl-inter bang-bang- snap I" < 

"They 're out I" I muttered. Kimmie was howling, and 
diving at his fence. A sound of feet spatting on turf 
and there in the lane was a full flight of them, gamboling 
joyfully out. ... All colors, all sizes, but one idea pos- 
sessing them : freedom ! Heels flew, manes and tails were 
banners on the wind, and a glorious concourse trailed, 
galloping, up the steep side of the first knoll. Against 
the sky-line, now circling, ever on the gallop, Ocean 
Wave in the lead, white fore legs flashing, head waving 
grandly this way and that. 

A Delphic frieze! and such color ! burnt grass, cool blue 
sky, and pony-tints in looped design. . . . Despite my 
wrath, I gazed at them with joy and sympathy. How 
I wished they could be out to stay ! But, if they began on 
this first young sprouting grass, there would be a pink, 
exhausted pasture by midsummer. Even sod must have 



its chance. Besides, the new wire was not yet up. April 
is our classic month for fence-mending; and I wanted it 
up by the time they were let out, trusting that, when con- 
fronted by a fresh array of barbs, and in the spring, 
when any inch of pasture seems wonderful to them, 
they might forget their autumn badness and stay in. 
But Kindnesses plan had worked ; two bars were broken 
off and lay with their splintered points in the lane. Evi- 
dently the flying wedge had been tried. . . . And up in 
the maple-grove I caught a glimpse of vanishing color 
bay and black and white through the boles of the trees. 
In a moment they would gallop through into the mow- 
ings, the upper bar-way was down, and history would 
repeat itself. . . . 

No ! The sheds. I would shut them all in. Boot, sad- 
dle, to horse, and away. Polly sent mud and water flying 
as we dashed through the brook; she loves chasing sin- 
ners; and, just as they were streaming along the leafy 
trail by the wall, we circumvented them. "Boo-hoo-oo- 
oooooo !" shrilled Goliath, enchanted at being on the job 
again, and leaping at their astonished faces. With one 
accord they turned tail, fleeting downward again faster 
than they had come up. ... How simple ! After a win- 
ter's yarding, ponies are strangely innocent and be- 
guilable; I had no trouble at all steering them into the 
shed. They stood on three legs and puffed. Some of 
them shut both eyes. All in, poor dears. And I but- 
toned the half -door. 

* * * 

April 2. 

Babs has gone again; now begins the last lap of soli- 
tude. Silence sits upon the landscape. Nature, I trust, 



will find her voice again; birds will carol, and brooks 
babble . . . but just now I hear nothing. 

Veils of hopeful green, however, are falling upon us 
overnight. "Summer!" they say, and I smile, checking 
off the weeks. It does feel like fishing, this hot sun. But 
I sha'n't go. Fishes can flourish, and brooks dwindle, for 
a' me. I should hate it, with my dearest treading stony 

How many winters I have sat on this hill, not alone to 
be sure, but worrying about something ! For four winters 
Babs and I worried steadily about the war. We have a 
deep interest in Europe ; and her agonies hurt us. At the 
age of twelve my child was impassionedly reading four- 
column editorials on Russia; and, when we entered the 
great conflict, it became my habit to dream, also passion- 
ately, about Woodrow Wilson. . . . We were in a great 
ship at night; a storm was on, and submarines darting 
about. A green light wrapped the inward parts of the 
ship. Woodrpw was steering. Things canted horribly 
to one side ; the green light grew greener it came from 
the illuminated inside of waves. Apparently we were 
deep down, like a submarine. But, furious as everything 
was, and dark and gruesome, I knew it was all right, for 
I could hear Woodrow's calm voice up above. He was in 
a pilot-house, or something shut up and invisible ; but he 
was there. He seemed to be speaking a good deal. It 
was very reassuring. I caught a glimpse of him just once, 
through the gloom and the flying spray ; he had his glasses 
on, and was perfectly collected and dry. . . . That seemed 
quite as it should be, too. And I woke, exalted. 

But we worried, partly, because we were not producing 
the right things. Ponies were unpatriotic ; so we bought 



more cows and raised six calves to the confusion of the 
Kaiser. . . . Our man went to the front. Other men there 
were not. It was a winter of enormous snows, of sinister 
gray weeks when the mercury stayed at twenty below zero 
at noontime ; when it went "up to zero" it was warm ! We 
still worried a little because we had not pigs enough to be 
truly patriotic; but if we had more pigs it meant more 
cows to provide milk for them, and every morning I strug- 
gled with aching hands to milk two of our five, while my 
talented child gaily performed on three in the same length 
of time. . . . After breakfast, when the pails of milk 
had been separated, and the calves and ponies fed, Babs's 
governess came over the drifted hilltop on snow-shoes, 
and lessons began. So we did not see where we could get 
in any more cows into that part of the day, that is. And 
you cannot defer a cow. 

In the course of that winter I wrote as much as one 
short story. It was called "War Apples" -and was a per- 
fectly grand story. It had eighteen thousand words, and 
may possibly .have needed a little revising ; but I lost the 
manuscript, and so "War Apples" went for the joy of 
the doing. ... At twelve every day I rose, put on the in- 
terrupting potatoes, climbed into one thousand and one 
outer garments, and departed to do the noon chores. At 
three, it became necessary to get down hay and prepare 
for night. Dark fell early. Everybody had to be put in 
and out once more, milked, watered, fed, bedded. Dead 
hens had to be conveyed from the hen-house. Hens seemed 
to love to die that winter. It was so cold they just toppled 
off the roosts at night and stayed there. In the morning 
they were frozen quite stiff. They seemed in perfect 
health; they merely could not stay on the roosts. We 



grew exceedingly annoyed with our dead hens. Even our 
Sally Henny- Penny died; and she was a pet hen that 
used to go round the farm on our shoulders. If you said 
"Sa-lly?" to her, with upward inflection, she would peer 
up at you sidewise and remark "Ca-aa?'' sweetly, in re- 
turn. We took her for a drive once, and she was per- 
fectly happy and conversed all the way. ... So we were 
fearfully fond of Sally. And of Em'ly a queer, appeal- 
ing old gray hen with ruffled plumage and a hoarse voice, 
so fiercely and unsuccessfully maternal that we had named 
her after the Virginian's classic fowl. When we went 
in one terrible morning with hot food and found Emily 
stark, we really wept. It seemed too bad she could not 
live to fail with another family. She took indefatigable 
and truculent care of her babies, but something always 
happened to them. Although she was very old, she never 
changed in look or manner ; there seemed no reason why 
she should not keep on indefinitely. Forty below was too 
much for Em'ly, however and for us. We have never 
felt kindly toward that hen-house since. 

This winter, to be sure, our dear Kimmie, "with shining 
foot," the most adorable silvery ankles, Kim has ! has 
lent cheer to that lugubrious spot, while he, from his 

. . . morning sup 
Of Heavenly Vintage from the soil looks up 

to me in the bath-room window! (I'm sure hay, served 
on snow-drifts, is Heavenly Vintage to Kim!) For he 
is luckily robust, and does not sit on roosts. If he had 
been that sort of beast, I never should have put him in 
that haunted place in company with that "Angel of the 
Darker Drink" we met so often there. . . . Yes, it gave 



one queer, Rubaiyatish feelings sometimes. ... A world- 
tragedy was going on; there was toil, and tragedy, on the 
farm. . . . Altogether, a year deeply indented in our 

# # # 

April 4. 

Spring has indeed come. Last night I hired a team to 
do plowing! And to-day I have had a visit from the 
"lister" which sounds like mouth-wash, but means taxes. 
Our lister is a pleasant man, who owns stock himself, so 
we stood amiably around the barn-yard in the hot sun and 
scrutinized the animals, arranging their valuations while 
they snuffed curiously at the lister's clothes, or nibbled 
his books and papers. Donlinna was most courteous and 
hostess-like, bending her neck prettily and escorting the 
visitor everywhere he walked until the chance tearing 
off of a sheet of paper sent her flying in dismay. The 
world is "so new and all" to Donny; I feel quite sorry 
for her when I think how many things she has to learn. 
. . . Elizabeth, too, was stretching her little nose to under- 
stand all about it; so, what between calculations about 
ponies on the farm, ponies in the village, ponies in other 
townships, and the immediate devotion of ponies in the 
yard, we had a perplexed time of it. Rates, of course, 
have gone up. Is there ever a year when they do not? 

All farmers seem to have the delightful idea that Shet- 
lands, being small, are worth tuppence-ha'penny at the 
most, draft-horses and cattle being in this region the only 
important things, and smaller beasts at a discount. So, 
every April when I note the earnest expression with which 
the lister inquires how many cows I have, I am once more 
grateful we are not conducting a dairy. Cressy even, 



in her lone state, came in for most solemn inquiries this 
morning. How old was she? And when did she 
"freshen" ? And would I call her "a good cow, all straight 
and right"? . . . Then would so many dollars be satis- 
factory? "No, of course you would n't sell her for that; 
I see she 's a pet !" remarked our friend pleasantly ; at 
which Cressy, chewing, regarded him for a moment, then 
moved up and extended a long tongue to his coat-sleeve. 
The lister smiled, but ascended the salt-rocks. 

What would people in our barn-yard do without those 


* * * 

April 4. 

A transcendent day. Birds shouting, sun shining, tem- 
perature at seventy, and breakfast on the wicker table on 
the porch. The sun comes just right upon that porch; 
there is a strip of shade over your head, yet delicious 
warmth spreads, rug-like, over your lap and hands. The 
coffee-pot can sit in a spot of sunshine and keep warm, 
while cream, butter, and marmalade retreat into the happy 
shadow of a post. The winds seldom strike you, though 
a wind at seventy is not unwelcome ; so Boo and I, with 
Goliath blissfully stretched on the turf below (with a bit 
of grassy bank for a pillow), had a beautiful bask in all 
that breakfast outdoors brings to one. Bluebirds made 
color in the old orchard. The air palpitated with song. 
Across the valley the Bagley woods are becoming soft- 
bosomed; each tree-top is shaped and paled with spring. 
And that has happened since day before yesterday! . . . 
Lunch, at the siesta time of the birds, was not so songful, 
but exquisite in its own way; and Boo-boo sat on the 
step purring, and adoring his world. . . . 



When Polly and I rode home from the mail, we found 
gloaming coming on, an apricot-tinted glow behind the 
trees, and my Cressy, mooing on the wrong side of the 
bars, in the pasture lane ! Cressy, the pious, the non- 
jumping, how had she ever conveyed her unwieldy self 
across the rails? I never even look to see if she is in 
the yard she always is ; and here she was outside, moan- 
ing repentantly. . . . 

"Coming, Cressy!" I called; and an expectant head 
turned toward me. Taking a bridle-rein from Polly, I 
climbed the fence and looped the rein about the cow's 
soft neck. "We'll have to go 'way round, Cressy," I 
murmured (for these bars had been nailed up tight) ; 
"d'ye mind a walk?" 

Surprised but docile, she turned and followed away 
from her beloved barn, along the glooming lane, then 
up the slopes into the maple-grove. At first she greatly 
desired to help me by carrying a piece of the bridle-rein 
in her mouth, Cressy loves leather, but acceded 
sweetly to my suggestion that she drop it, and labored 
along behind me, treading in my tracks. She puffed and 
-blew, as the climb grew steep ; I stopped a moment to let 
her breathe. The evening, though soft and still, had a 
whispering April beauty. From the woods came the peep- 
ing of frogs; overhead was a murmur in the trees. 
Though the hills were darkened, they yet had color, and 
above their rim the afterglow had deepened. The scent 
of pasture turf, of old leaves packed by the wall, of 
earthiness from a bank where sumacs grew ; the mysteri- 
ous scent of twilight itself, of a spring evening under the 
stars, came to us there as we waited. The twinkle of a 
lone planet above the mountains seemed vital, as if it, too, 


must be giving off sound and scent. Orion, flung across 
the southern sky, was preparing for his long dive behind 
the western woods; and low over those woods shone 
Venus, clear, green, sparkling. . . . 

Behind me Cressy suddenly puffed a great sigh, turn- 
ing her gentle head toward the hills. "Want to stay out 
here?" I asked her; but we paced silently on. The path, 
wandering under a fringe of trees by the mowing, grew 
dusky, but it is the favorite and leafy route of escaping 
ponies, and Cressy and I knew it well. ... A cow, I 
reflected, is an amiable thing! Here in the unseemly 
gloaming, for cows are orderly creatures and want to 
fold up to sleep when darkness comes, away from bed 
and supper and everything dear to the bovine heart, we 
were steadily going; and yet she followed me without a 
protest. One could have led her with Ariadne's silken 
thread or with a hand on her neck. In fact, we were 
walking that way then, side by side, step for waddling 
step. Her neck was warm and smooth ; her head nodded 
energetically. Cressy toes out shockingly; one had to be 
quite sure one was beyond the range of those funny, wide- 
forking feet, with their scoopy action. That, and her 
waddle, made one feel oddly stiff, and up and down in 
one's own gait. . . . 

But, when we turned down into the upper mowings, 
Cressy's exquisite silkiness departed as if by magic. 
Three sinning ponies were out in that field, grazing busily 
little they care about folding up at dark! and they 
greeted us with wondering whinners. 

With a snort and a caper, Cressy dived toward them. 
"Headed for home!" she gamboled, "I know it; I feel it!" 

Not caring to be pulled down darkening banks at that 


pace, I dug in my heels and hauled on the bridle-rein. 
"Whoa I" I cried, "silly old thing !" to which she responded 
with a grand flourish of heels. Flinging a loop around 
her horns, I tried to quell this sudden joyousness (Cressy 
usually hates things round her horns) ; but to-night the 
stars and frog-songs must have gone to her head, for all 
the way down she impetuously led me, nose in air. In the 
mowing lane her ardor was not to be restrained. Swing- 
ing around the corner of the raspberry-bushes, and drag- 
ging me with her, she bolted for the front hay barn door, 
thus entering the stable wrong-way-to. Horses go in at 
this end, cows invariably from the rear ; so Cressy found 
her world bouleverse, and was aghast. She shied at the 
grain-bin, caromed into little Queen, who was eating her 
supper in the aisle, tumbled over a scared Elizabeth, was 
narrowly missed by a pass from Donny's hind foot, 
what was a cow doing, in here? and finally landed, 
breathing heavily, and hastened by a nip from Lassie, in 
her own stanchion. . . . We both gave a sigh of relief 
when the cross-bar of the cow-chain, worn silver-smooth 
with countless fastenings, slipped greasily into its ring. 
... A cow-chain is lovely to handle, its texture really a 
pleasure. It is the only sort I ever touch without being 
hurt! For, of all unpersuadable objects, a chain, to me, 
is the worst. George Eliot describes one of her char- 
acters as having "a tendency to harden under beseech- 
ing" ; if that eminent author had been trying to draw the 
portrait of the average chain the moment it reaches my 
fingers, it could not have been more accurate. Fat, heavy 
sled-chains; stake-chains; logging-chains; wheel-chains; 
long, twiny, sinister chains for "snaggin* " all, coveted 
farm property (there is a rush, at auctions, when the 



chains are put up), and my detestation! ... I have the 
most absurd fingers. They are slimpsy and flexible, and 
get hurt over anything. Now, my Babs has, by some 
heaven-sent gift, the most lovely, strong, picket-fence 
fingers; just the sort that can conquer a wrench, a 
mowing-machine, or any other awful contrivance. . . . 
So I leave chains to my child and stand by, feeling hor- 
ribly incompetent . . . but oh! the prideful twirl with 
which I fasten up a cow. If there were a fire, I do be- 
lieve I could undo cows as fast as anybody and hang up 
the chains afterward! That is supposed to be the test of 
the tyro ; but it comes to be mere instinct. Hang on to the 
ring as the chain rattles down ; out ducks the cow from 
under your arm, up goes the ring on its nail all in a 
twinkling. Even I can't do it any other way now, and 
fully realize the crime of letting a chain fall to the floor 
in a heap, to be trodden by passing cow feet. . . . And 
then, when your animal comes in again, you have to fish 
around her neck to find it, a neck that seems just then 
abnormally large, warm, and in the way, and as, at the 
same instant, she is apt to lunge forward to see if her 
supper is there, the results are language, a bumped head, 
and an indignant cow. 

Cressy and I, however, have a perfect understanding. 
She knows just how I do it; so we part in silken peace, I 
to the haymow, Cressy to do her elephant-dance of expec- 
tation, all nicely ready to blow at me when I let down her 
wooden window. 

* # * 

April 5. 

A strange day, beginning and ending with frights. 
Having sat up late over a book the night before, I was 



roused from a pleasant dream by the sound of cheerful 
whistling, and the rattle of a team coming up our hill! 
Horror-stricken, I leaped out of bed. It was the plow- 
boy! I could see the handles of the plow protruding 
above the sides of the wagon ; and I should have to show 
him the field! 

With an attempt at a casual "I '11 be out in a minute ! J ' 
from behind incriminating bedroom curtains, I heard the 
team start to go rattling round into the yard. A moment's 
respite, anyway! . . . Stockings, a riding-skirt, a smart 
ulster; four hair-pins in one's hair, a velour sport-hat 
clapped upon that; goloshes as a finish. . . . Devoutly 
hoping the boy would not notice a slight sloopiness as to 
ankles, I careered through the house, slowing down to a 
dignified exit at the back door. A raw wind was blow- 
ing; climate had changed overnight, and a cold gray cloud- 
fog enwrapped us, so, as far ahead as possible in the 
comfortable fogginess, I strode, Goliath shieldingly at my 
heels, dear dog, wagging his tail off with pleasure at this 
early walk ! up the mowing road, and on, and down, and 
around, my ulster skirts flapping about me (why need one 
have chosen the very remotest field on the farm to raise 
oats on?), finally reaching the broad hilltop where agri- 
culture was to begin. 

It was extremely breezy. Conversation as to method, 
boundaries, and other correlated matters ensued, till my 
teeth chattered in my head ; and when I ventured the un- 
guarded remark, "Dear me, how cold it is !" the boy gave 
a sudden giggle ! 

I glanced sharply down at my attire. It felt flappy, 
but all was perfectly right, and, much relieved, I watched 
him steering the big horses down the slope. Such an 



admirable straight brown furrow, laid back so beautifully 
on the sod! Babs and I had plowed a little during the 
war; I knew what a straight furrow means. . . . The 
boy was welcome to giggle if he could plow like that. . . . 

At the house I found, with a sense of injury, that it 
was only a few minutes past seven. A needlessly early 
boy. Glancing into the kitchen mirror as I passed, I 
stopped short ; above the collar of the smart ulster peeped 
a frill of white hamburg embroidery! (The unmistakable 
sort.) With a smothered exclamation, I tucked it in. ... 
Hat, nonchalance, carefully buckled goloshes all in vain ! 
. . . When I saw that boy again, I vowed, I would be 
dressed so dressed, that my splendor would outweigh 
all the hamburg in the world! and got my best riding- 
things defiantly out to feed ponies in. ... 

The plowing on the upland piece was soon ended, for 
my breakfast was interrupted by a dolorous boy on the 
back porch. 

"Hev you got another plow?" 

"A plow!" I exclaimed, "why, you brought one with 

"Yas 'm. But I did n't bring my knife with me. Knife 
that fits on the plow. An' the sod 's jest tough enough 
so the plow keeps jumpin' out o' the furrow. . . . Hev 
you -got one with a knife in it?" 

"Oh!" I said. "No, we haven't. But you can start 
on the other piece of ground, you know the old buck- 
wheat patch; there's no sod on that." 

"Yes!m," he murmured. (No giggles now a sub- 
dued and serious boy.) "An' to-morrer I '11 bring up 
my knife." 

So calamity was averted. All day long the faithful 


team moved over the piece till it stood out boldly choco- 
late-colored on the hillside. A charming sight I For 
so long the farm had been all one color, a sort of drab, 
last year's crop ground being scarce different from the 
tan-brown of the mowings; and that purple patch on 
the hillside was so obvious a record of the day's achieve- 
ment. ... I wish writing stood out chocolate-colored 
when it's done! It has a way of slinking so modestly 
into a pile of manuscript that in the evening one turns 
up pages and peers wistfully within to make sure one 
has done anything. . . . 

In farming there is no need to peer wistfully. Your 
planting or hoeing or harrowing looms out for all the 
world to see, as does also the hoeing and harrowing 
that you have not done or the weeds you have inad- 
vertently let grow. The blossoming kale in our oat- 
patch one year (a mortifying oat-patch, perched on a 
knoll visible to the main road!) was a golden splash, 
beautiful against the sky, but horrifying to the soul of 
the farmer. . . . You can't always help having kale ; the 
seed will lie in the soil "for forty years, ma'am," an old 
farmer told me, shaking a mournful head, and, as soon 
as that ground is plowed, up come the young plants, 
undiscouraged by sequestration under the sod. This 
particular oat piece had been "in grass" ever since we 
bought the farm, and so it was quite a surprise to see, 
as a result of our innocent agriculture, so copious a 
visitation of the sins of the fathers springing up and 
blooming on our well-meant knoll. 

And then those kale-seeds (the new and splendid crop) 
are harvested with your oats, threshed with them, and 
so distributed via the fertilizer which you cast on other 



ground next season nicely over your land. A clever 
system. No one but a weed would have thought of it. 
And yet, when I caught the curve of its gold against a 
dark-blue mountain, I couldn't help a throb of joy! It 
was lovelier, for all its iniquity, than the praiseworthy 
sheet of greenish-white buckwheat-blossoms opposite. 
But the buckwheat made up on scent. There are few 
things more delicious than a field of it after sunset; one 
can almost see that perfume ascending, sweet incense to 
a summer evening. . . . 

After the tired team had taken their sweaty coats down 
the hill, the accustomed stillness descended upon the farm 
once more. It was a gray night, with no wind; as I 
sat by the fire small sounds were much in evidence. 
Startlingly loud, in fact! The room cracked, the wood- 
fire ticked; outside the house, something the tip of a 
rose-bush, or a stray straw from the banking scratched 
against the clapboards, while from the ceiling the chip- 
munk-scamperings made me jump, so near and personal 
they sounded. ... I sat late, absorbed in my book. In 
his corner Goliath dreamed and twitched. Just as I 
was growing delightfully drowsy, from the house-front 
came a series of loud knocks bang, bang, bang, bang, 

My eyes flew open and I sat up, staring hauntedly at 
the windows. Goliath, with wild ears turning every way, 
also started up. We stared at each other. . . . 

Again came the knocks: Bang bang bang bang f 
Slow, distinct, intentional. The dog whined. A cold- 
ness^ gripped me; I sat rigid. . . . Whoever it was could 
see in perfectly the shades were up; there was no use 
doing anything. If he was coming in, he would come 



My hair was partly down I put a hand up to it, won- 
dering if he was looking at that. . . . Gradually heart- 
beats subsided. Nothing seemed to happen. Unstiffening 
a little, I took up my book. Magnificently awake, now 
might as well read ! ... But it was hard to put my mind 
on it. I had read one paragraph three times, when 
Bang! louder than before, came from the side window. 
This was too much. Leaping up, I faced round; and 
there, pressed against the window-pane in full lamplight 
was a face ! . . . A round, yellow, imploring face, with 
a great black rat-mustache across it ! ... 

I felt my mouth close hard; but I let him in; I ap- 
plauded his rat, or his dormouse, or whatever it was, 
one of those queer, blunt-nosed creatures he has been 
getting lately (it must have been the bumps he made, 
killing it in the banking, that we had heard), and then, 
"Boo!" I said in level tones, carefully carrying him to 
the door with the treasure still gripped in his mouth; 
"when it next comes upon you to slay things at eleven 
o'clock at night, kindly do not do it against the house. 
... It's rather noisy, dear!" 

Setting him down upon the mat, a soft, purring, little 
form, all lovingly humped over his rat, I closed and 
bolted the door. 

* * * 

April 6. 

I came to the sad conclusion, several days ago, that 
Elizabeth must be weaned. Thalma is showing the strain 
of the long winter, and needs her resources for her 
own benefit; but how she will mourn the child she has 
had with her so long! Outwardly she is not an emo- 
tional mother, yet Elizabeth has been devotedly looked 



after ; at the baby's least cry a tense little sopt-black figure, 
with snapping eyes, would come trotting up and woe 
betide the rash pony that was making free with Eliza- 
beth! That pair fat, black mother, and the strangely 
fair, perfect youngster have been our great pleasure 
during walks in the pasture. We knew Elizabeth was 
getting the best grass ; Thalma was a canny grazer, and 
always steered for the richest spots, for clovery hol- 
lows, or clumps of tender green growing under shelter 
of ferns or bushes. The sweetest tips of young thistles, 
the first shoots of the delicious raspberry, were shown 
to the baby's intelligent nose, stretched eagerly beside 
her mother's; and very soon Elizabeth needed no show- 
ing. Her head was in all the succulent places. Such a 
happy little face would be lifted to us out of the ferns 
in which it was buried ; and Mother Thalma would come 
sociably along to turn up an amiable but keen eye and 
inquire if we didn't think the baby was coming on, 
rather eh? And she and Elizabeth would tag fondly 
after us as we strolled. . . . 

But this could n't go on indefinitely ; there was Eliza- 
beth's next brother or sister to be thought of, and 
so, slipping a halter on Thalma's unsuspecting head, I 
led her to the hen-house. (Kimmie by this time had been 
transferred to a box in the lower stable.) I took Thalma 
in, and shut the door in her face. She knew ! Through 
the window an anguished eye gazed out at me, as she 
tried in vain to find a hole in the netting. The black 
nose searched and searched, denting itself against the 
wire meshes; then, abandoning this idea, she rushed to 
the door and pried at it furiously. Poor little mother! 



I left her running back and forth across a pile of disre- 
garded hay, calling wildly to her child. . . . 

In the barn-yard Elizabeth, too, was flying distractedly 
about. "Mother! Mother !" she was shrieking. She ran 
at full speed through all the sheds, out again over the 
salt-rocks up to the gate, back again, with pelting feet, 
to the sheds. "Mother, where are you? 3 ' The other 
ponies stared at her in surprise. Ocean frowned se- 
verely. But their opinions were now nothing to Eliza- 
beth; blinded by anxiety, she raced unseeingly by or 
bumped into them obliviously. "Mother! Mother !" I 
turned away, biting my lip. It is an awful thing, this 
separating babies and mothers. One never feels so abso- 
lute a beast. . . . 

For hours the little thing whinnered and searched ; for 
hours I heard the flute-like call flying from one end of 
the yard to the other. At last she took a distracted drink. 
As she hastily gulped, ears backward, eyes roving mis- 
erably around, Bally Beg, a soft-hearted little fellow, 
came and stood by her, gently nibbling her shoulder; 
evidently sorry for her distress. Finishing her drink, 
however, Elizabeth brushed by him. I don't think she 
knew he was there; and at intervals during the rest of 
the day I saw her little nose pressed 'against the bars 
of the big gate. . . . Mother must have gone outside! 
So Elizabeth stood and watched. 

The ponies played their evening games, hay was 
brought, and, when the barn door was opened to the 
crowd of young ones, Elizabeth hopped eagerly up the 
stone step and raced to her corner. "Mother ! Mother I" 
For a~ moment she stared wildly round, then bolted about 



the stable, head up, eyes flashing. . . . Mother must be 
here! She was always somewhere. . . . Sunny, with a 
very cross face, shooed her out of his stall. Superb 
raised a threatening heel. Even small Queen looked up 
irritatedly from her hay, which Elizabeth so often 
shared, as the poor baby, rushing by, bumped into her. 
What was her chum fussing about so tearing up and 
down ? Why could n't she come and eat ; or at least stop 
banging into people who were trying to eat. . . . And 
Queen frowned, swashing a grubby little black and white 
tail in disgust. 

I shook the measure of oats enticingly. Elizabeth 
merely looked at me, panting, with fixed eyes. Patting 
her, and talking the baby-jargon that Elizabeth responds 
to, I led her over; sniffing at the oats, -she took a few 
in her mouth, but suddenly up went her head, the wild 
expression came back, and shaking off my hand she dashed 
away, tail out, every muscle taut. . . . Could she have 
heard Thalma, in the distant hen-house, calling? Listen 
as I would, I could hear nothing. . . . 

I took Thalma her supper. She tried desperately to bolt 
by me as I opened the door, but was met by a blockade 
of hay. I set her grain by the window ; but all Thalma's 
mother-soul was at that door. Her eyes, big and fiery, 
stared and stared ; when I went out the door nearly caught 
her nose. A shrill call followed me. 

For all the feeding and pampering I could do during the 
next week she was alarmingly neglectful of her food. By 
the window she mostly stood, staring out with eyes no 
longer fierce and wild, but sad with a steady sadness. Al- 
ways she rushed at the opening door ; and not until I had 



gone entirely away and hope faded would she bend a 
languid head to her food. 

For days, too, Elizabeth whinnered and searched. Her 
efforts became fainter as time passed ; but she grew per- 
ceptibly thinner; so one day, when a decided tinge of 
green had spread over the mowings, I let her and old 
Superb out. (It might be bad for the mowings, but any- 
thing to console Elizabeth!) 

It was a sad mistake. At first they both cropped eagerly 
at the green blades ; but soon a bright idea flashed upon 
Elizabeth a brighter one than I dreamed she was capable 
of. Now she could find her mother ! who must be some- 
where in these fields which had been, in autumn, their 
happy running-ground. Full of hope, the baby bounded 
up the mowing lane, calling loudly. I lost sight of her 
for a moment ; then she appeared again on a knoll, wheel- 
ing in all directions, starting here and there, giving shrill 
little calls, then, with uplifted tail, dashing away into 
the meadows. Her cries floated back, now here, now 
there ; presently a panting little woolly form came flying 
down the lane, but stopped short by the raspberry-bushes. 
For an instant she seemed to listen ; then with a wild call 
rushed off toward the house. 

I watched in dismay. Thalma must have been an- 
swering; and Elizabeth, now filled with agonized con- 
viction, galloped vainly round trying to locate her mother's 
voice. Poor little Blondel! singing her song first under 
the kitchen window, then by the wall of the wood-shed; 
then dashing over to the hen-house and pausing under its 
windows, her eyes black with longing, her whole being 
a-quiver. I trembled lest Thalma's nose might be visible 



but the little minstrel was pressed too close against 
the boarding; so she soon went speeding faithfully away 
again. "Mother ! Mother !" Up the lane, across the field ; 
down, at topmost speed, by the spring in the lower meadow 
no amount of grass would make up for such racing; 
she would run herself tired out. So I beguiled her into 
the winter yard once more. 

After a time she settled down, played once more with 
Bally Beg, even got up spirit to tease her big chum Don- 
linna again ; but the look in her eyes was different. The 
world no longer held a mother's love ; and her roundness 
and prettiness, which she had kept so long, began to fall 
into the leaner lines of the yearling. 

Elizabeth's babyhood was over. 

* * * 

April 7. 

Boo-boo has had a great day. It has been hot, almost 
sticky; "all mimsey were the borogoves"; that is, the 
ponies in the yard, who lopped exhaustedly around. Not 
so Boo. He has followed my every step. Whenever he 
jumped down from anything, he alighted with a musical 
proo! if he dashed around by some subterranean passage 
and suddenly met me in the barn, he announced the fact 
by his trill of joy. ... I consulted him about everything. 
He was quite sure, he told me, rubbing his head against 
my elbow as he stood on the edge of a manger, that it 
was a good idea to give Dolly extra grain because I was 
beginning to use her more ; he also suggested that I might 
leave the lid of the grain-chest permanently open, so 
that a person who wished to hunt might bob in at will. 



As it was he nearly got shut in there for the day, having 
ensconced himself in a shadowy corner to wait for the 
grain-chest mouse. . . . 

That mouse is one of my trials ! As a rule I enjoy a 
mouse; I like to see a bright little face peering at me 
from a beam, but to have this persistent atom leap at my 
face every time I bend down after oats is somehow rather 
horrid. ... I screamed this morning! A very mild 
scream, but I felt vastly ashamed ; and Boo-boo, sitting on 
the door-sill, came scampering to my rescue. He and 
Goliath both know all about that magic word "mouse" 
and cooperate beautifully. When I open the big chest in 
the corn barn, Goliath, thrilled and whimpering, guards 
the door; as I grasp the lid I whisper, "Mouse, Boo!" 
when a furry yellow thing is beside me in an instant, 
perching on the rim. I fling up the cover splosh! s cutter- 
bang-whop! and Boo-boo leaps up again, with a mouth- 
ful of mouse. ... In the barn, therefore, he insists on 
getting all mixed up with the wooden measures, till I tell 
him I shall have to give my Polly a cat-breakfast if he 
does n't get his fat self out of the way. 

"Two heaping quarts of cat, Boo-boo?" I inquire 
fondly ; "<T you think she 'd like that, for a change ?" 

Toward evening I grew very tired. I had written and 
ridden and labored with hands ; I had bossed and directed 
and bargained and been for the mail; so, when met by 
a congratulating cat in the kitchen at supper-time (and 
being much wound about as to ankles), I looked at the 
arrears of dishes stacked on the sink-board and remarked 
plaintively : 

"Boo-cat, I have worked all day. I ? ve written a thou- 



sand words and talked, I 'm sure, as many more. ... In 
the words of Mr. Dolls, Boo, I am er man er talent 
and I won't wash dishes to-night !" 

Whereat Boo, diligently rubbing off half an inch of 
hair on me, responded, "Pr-ow ! . . . I would n't," 

Corroboration is ever pleasant, especially when one is 
too tired to make up one's own mind. "The question is, 
Boo, do I need any protein to-night. It's so hot, . . . 
Must one cook an egg or not?" 

My adviser at once sat down with a negative back 
to me, purring amiably. "Please yourself, Missis!" 

I omitted the egg. Later, much cheered by a protein- 
less meal, I began loudly singing, "A Book of Verses, 
underneath the Bough"; which Boo, though not partial 
to vocal exercises, endured well until the high note in 
"Paradi-w e-now !" when he hopped down from his chair 
and pulled imploringly at my sweater. 

"Don't, please!" 

I leaned and picked him up. "Very well, Boo ; I '11 
carry cats instead"; at which he clung to me, wheezing 
gratefully. Soon I forgot and sang in his ear when he 
became instantly silent again, and lolled limply over my 
shoulder. No Rubaiyat, for Boo! Its tone or his 
Missis's! evidently depresses him, for it took several 
minutes of vigorous and unsongful attention to cheer him 
up. ... 

And then we two went for a twilight stroll in the lane. 
The moon, was coming slowly up; its pale light spread 
faintly about us; and Boo escorted me in mad rushes. 
. . . So wonderful, to have all one's four paws in a grassy 
rut at once ! and those delicious, squiddly feelings all the 
way from one's distracted ears to one's stub now quirk- 



ing madly. And then it became suddenly piquant to have 
all one's feet outside the rut; to scutter along with a 
desperate expression, stomach dragging, and grasses 
tickling one horribly beneath. ... It was astonishing 
what a clatter those soft feet could make, as they charged 
after me; I jumped around once, to see what was com- 
ing! . . . "Prrrrrr-oo I" gasped Boo, scuttling by; and 
flattened himself in my path. 

So he kept one smiling with his comedies. Later, he 
spent the evening in my lap, and slept (an unusual treat) 
on Babs's bed. Boo is a dear little chaperon. We slept 
till long after dawn. 

April 9. 

Stranger and stranger grow the days. Fresh snow on 
Ascutney; bloodroot blooming in the woods! Ascutney 
is beautiful, this gray morning, with a sprinkle of white 
on his dark-blue; but I prefer the blossom-white that 
sparkles among the brown leaves under maples and 
beeches. Those very first flowers, in a glass on the table 
this morning, gazed adorably at me from their charm- 
ingly set petals, with their golden eyes. I smiled at them ; 
we had marmalade. Festivity was in the air. Nature, 
instead of being something to combat, has all of a sudden 
grown cooperative. Spring and I are floating together, 
hand in hand, down an easy stream. Everything pro- 
gresses, whether I do anything to help or not: grass is 
bright green; rhubarb is shooting mere crimson bumps 
in the shade of the corn barn, but puckered foliage and 
two-inch stems in the sun. The pale, swollen buds on 
the elderberry-bush have turned into fat little clumps of 



leaves. Real leaves ; growing ones ! not the flat and life- 
less sort through which one has scuffed so long ; and tiny, 
prophetic, yellow-green plantains ornament the edge of 
my path to the barn. 

In the woods, the mottled leaves of adder's-tongues 
have thrust through their matted covering. The wood- 
creatures are racing to get ahead of me. ... It is won- 
derful, after the long obstinacy of winter, to be so helped. 
I had n't even wished for bloodroot yet ; but there it was, 
and I had to steer Polly so that she wouldn't step on 
it. Hepaticas, too, a spray of them, pale lavender, spring- 
ing from gray-brown leaves. Hepaticas are rare in our 
woods. Polly by that time was tied to a tree ; I was the 
one who nearly stepped on them. I was n't dreaming of 
hepatica! The boys and I were after ash-trees, and 
I was determined to sight one as soon as they 'did; 
in the gray woods-mob, it is so easy not to see an ash. 
(Our wild cherry posts, though strong and lasting, were 
scraggy, and took too long to cut. It seemed as if the 
trees grew in thick clumps, on purpose!) . . . The ash- 
tree must be tall, straight, and near a wood-road. A 
perfect one grew in an impassable thicket of hemlocks; 
another surmounted an unattainable cliff. At last we 
found one, " 'bout two hundred foot tall 1" as the boys 
admiringly said. Laying their faces against the trunk, 
they squinted up it. Then they murmured together. 

"Anything the matter?" I asked. 

"When ye look up it, it looks abaout like a rainbow!" 
cried one of them. Was this obscure woodland poetry, I 
wondered or an objection? Why should an ash-tree 
resemble a rainbow? 

" T ain't real straight," explained the nearest boy, "but 


*t will do for posts" ; and it was then that I nearly trod 
on the hepatica. 

It had been three years since I had seen one. City- 
dwellers rarely do, hepaticas and 'March mud being, un- 
happily, synchronous. But our woods this year are de- 
liciously dry. ... A fragrance, as of forgotten springs, 
swept through them on a little breeze; violets, hemlock, 
leaf-mold, the cold smell of pure waters what wasn't 
there in that whiff ? Polly, at her tree, drew a deep breath 
of it; her ears steadily pricked, she gazed at far moun- 
tains. "Bloodroot, Polly?" I remarked, and held out a 
cluster. But she did not even nibble. She sniffed very 
gently at the blossoms ears still pricked, a sweet, far- 
away look in her eyes. In the stable she would have 
grabbed unromantically for those flowers! Here, her 
expression was actually sentimental. She held her nose 
out for a moment more, then very slowly withdrew it. 
My Polly! who does everything in jerks! And for a 
little I stood there, simply enjoying the sight of my dear 
steed who had been one wild fidget under the saddle 
in this idyllic and absent-minded state. Her eyes, full 
of sweetness, were on the far mountains again ; her rub- 
ber-nose twitched slightly. Bless her ! and I turned away, 
adding three hepaticas to my bunch, but leaving seven in 
the clump (would that be enough for seed, I hoped?). 
I was ready to go home, but could n't bear to hurry Polly 
out of that rare mood. Let her stand at her sapling and 
dream. ... I know the joy of a mood! 

People try to persuade me out of farming. They say 
a person who writes or paints should have no cares. The 
Chickadee sighs because I keep a cow. 



But it is so easy to have a cow. Much easier than not ! 
. . . And so charming. My Cressy is as amusing as "a 
subscription to 'Life.' " Besides, she is my friend. I 
love the funny old thing. A friend is n't a care ! Ponies, 
too. I admit that at times they have kept one rather on 
a string; but what earned adjunct to an income is there 
that does n't? The ponies put jam on our bread; in fact, 
as things are now, they supply about half the loaf. Is 
there any other pursuit that furnishes one fraction of the 
joy, as a by-product, that farming does ? Here I was just 
going out for posts, and what blossoms and poetry did I 
not come upon ? No matter how exasperatedly one starts 
out, one returns rewarded, whether it is from a trip to 
the barn on a stormy evening, when your lantern makes 
a golden richness in the brown shadows, and everything 
smells of hay and milkiness, and the beasts are so sleepily 
pleased to see you that they quite melt your heart; or 
from a dash through a star-lit barn-yard, on some anxiety 
or other, with a freezing wind blowing, but with Venus 
and a young moon putting your eye out over the top of 
the wall ; or from a fagging jaunt in a twilight rain after 
escaped ponies, when the graying mountain world grows 
beautiful beyond any dream, and one pushes the soaked 
hat-brim from one's eyes and thanks a kind heaven for 
sending .one out to see jit. ... 

We are too lazy, or too busy, or too unrealizing, to get 
at beauty ; we have to be shoved out into it, and if it is 
your vocation that does the shoving thank it with all your 
soul. Give up farming? Not while I love air and moon- 
light and gray rain and bird-song and the woods and 
a million other things that go with it. If fanning did 
not drag me out, I should miss them. . . . Thoreau raves 



against fanners ; he only likes the bad ones, he says. So 
I am sure he would like me. I must be a shocking farmer ; 
this morning I got up at eight! But it was Sunday; I 
was n't expecting any plowboy ; and the animals were as 
happy as usual, for they had been fed at eight the night 
before ! ... Of course they should n't have been fed at 
eight in the evening; but it was because of a whole se- 
quence of things, including a fearful rain, that Dolly 
and I couldn't help; though I suppose a perfectly good 
farmer the kind Thoreau hated would have helped 
them. That was where the shockingness came in. ... 
But if you are just a little shocking once in a while, you 
can do a lot of things on a farm besides farming. 

# * * 

April 10. 

I have one cheerful, and one melancholy, boy, both 
mending fence most harmoniously. I happened to over- 
hear the greeting between them, as the cheerful one drove 
with a gay swirl into the yard, the melancholy one*came 
slouching down the lane, and they united to unhitch the 
cheerful boy's horse. 

MELANCHOLY BOY [faintly}. Wai, haow do you feel 
this mornin'? 

CHEERFUL BOY [enthusiastically]. Fine! 

M. B. [very dolorously], I don't! 

C. B, Oh, you wuz born tired 'n hungry ! 

And in entire amicability the unhitching went on. The 
melancholy boy is not as strong as his companion, and 
the latter always seizes the heaviest ax, the biggest posts, 
unquestioningly taking the brunt of the work. . . . He 


has inspiration, perhaps, in his father, who is a marvel- 
ous worker. He has one and a half arms and a hook, 
and does everything on his farm, even milking and plow- 
ing. (There is a legend that he grasps two sections of 
the cow's bag at once, in his one hand.) But it needs 
about eight hands and ten feet to plow and drive at the 
same time even with quiet horses ; I have tried it 1 And 
the one-armed man's team are awful beasts always 
starting and jumping just when you don't want them to, 
and you spend all your vitality howling "Whoa back!" 
We borrowed them once to disk-harrow a piece of plowed 
ground, and they took the turns at a gallop! That har- 
row went around at an angle of ninety degrees its vicious 
knives in the air my Babs on the iron seat, pulling and 
yelling for dear life; while I stood helpless at one edge 
of the piece. . . . 

* * * 

'"April ii. 

Whirling days, these! and the farmer's paradise, con- 
sisting of three individuals at work on the land at once, 
going on. It is an active paradise ; Polly and I trot busily 
around. My boys are farm boys, and experienced, but 
they ..cannot tell offhand at what .spot one wishes the 
woven wire to begin, or just where, to the pony-cognizant 
eye, the stone wall becomes intact enough to warrant only 
a strand of barbs above it. Neither do they know our 
wise ways through the woods, where, by the sacrifice of 
a sapling or two, a team can be insinuated into the heart 
of apparent wilds. Our straight-grained ash-trees vouch- 
safed us a host of fine posts. "Never see anything split 
better!" remarked one of the boys; but of course they 



were green and heavy, and those ramping black horses, 
ever too spirited for their job, had melodrama indeed 
"drawing them out," crashing over falling logs, swamping 
in bogs, twisting violently round trees, straining up rocky 
heights. The woods resounded with yells. 

Fences have to go in most improbable places over these 
heroic hills; again one marvels at the forefathers and 
their walls. Up the sheerest slopes, through the forests, 
the gray lines go steadily climbing. Or did the builders 
roll the stones downhill? Someway one thinks of a wall 
as going up just as one draws a profile looking to the 
left, and would n't know how to do it the other way. . . . 
It seems impossible to conceive of a wall running, with 
any willingness, downhill. ... In fact, the stones would 
get away from you. No, walls must have been built up- 

I wish I were a forefather, and could get along with 
a wall. Wire is terribly dear. Most of the world's sup- 
ply is heaped up in No-Man's-Land. . . . The fore- 
fathers, to be sure, did not raise luxuries like ponies, but 
one would think their sheep, with which these slopes were 
dotted, would have been over the hills and far away. 
Our sheep were. Walls were as nothing. They even 
stuck their feet into the meshes of woven wire and went 
tumbling over, to regale themselves on the neighbors' 
crops. We seem to have a way of acquiring talented 
animals, imbued with the spirit of Bunker Hill ; it might 
be well, I suppose, to develop a line of duffers who would 
know no more than to stay where they were put. . . . 
But they would n't be half so entertaining. 

Late to-day, through the woods of the high knoll, Polly 
and I caught a gorgeous glimpse of mountains and illumi- 



nated forests. Across Doone Valley lay the side of Bis- 
cuit Knoll, dark purple under the westering sun. Hun- 
dreds of giant maples, perfect oval in shape, dot that long- 
lying side, and each of them bore a luminous gold halo, 
with a dark streak down the middle. . . . What did they 
make one think of ? ... It was as if some one had lifted 
the rose of memory to my nostrils. . . . Some charm, 
some deep happiness far back in my life. ... Ha ! Coins, 
spun under lamplight! Not shillings, their color is too 
cold; but the big, shining, English pennies with, as they 
spin, the same blurry luminous gold edge, the same sha- 
dowy streak down the middle. . . . We always spun them 
by lamplight, they were prettier so ; and now, before me 
on the dark hillside, there they were those very pennies 
spinning hugely, wonderfully, under that lamp of the 
west. One quite expected to see one or another of them 
totter, darken, and fall. But they didn't; and into the 
heart of my childhood I hungrily stared. What purity of 
pleasure ! What a miracle to step back into it again ! 

Turning away, refreshed to the very soul of me, I 
blessed those giant maples. Never again might I catch 
them so at this spray-like moment of their foliage, this 
exact hour and mistiness of day, Biscuit Knoll submerged 
in purple. From the shallow pond on the pasture top, as 
if to join one's rejoicing, came a sudden burst of froggy 
voices, singly at first, then thickening to a real celebration : 
"Pete . . . Gert . . . Peter, Gertie . . . Pete, Gert 
Peter-Gertie-Peter-Peter-Gertie!" faster and faster, till 
the air was' ringing with it. These were the first of the 
high-knoll frogs that had sung to us; and it was unbe- 
lievably sweet. . . . O April, April! a quickener of the 
heart art thou ! 



April is. 

A visit one of many from my little neighbor and a 
friend. They accompanied me to the pasture to inspect 
the fence, darting hither and thither to pick wild flowers, 
on the way. As she added a red triilium to her bunch, 
Lucile said, in an aggrieved tone, "Such a lot of these 
stinkin'-Benjamins, this year!" 

"Of whatr I asked, horrified. 

"Stinkin'-Benjamins these!" she repeated, showing 
her handful. "Had a teacher once, his name was Mr. 
Blossom, so the boys called him Stinkin' Benjamin," she 
added, in her matter-of-fact voice. 

"Remark the 'so'!" I thought. Aloud I said: "Isn't 
it funny, what awful names all the poor little spring 
flowers seem to have? Adder's-tongue that's not 
pretty ; Dutchman's-breeches that is n't either ; or blood- 
root & dreadful word, really; and now Stinking-Ben- 
jamin! ... I never heard trillium called that before, 

"You didn't?" said Lucile incredulously; and we all 
bent to crawl under the new fence. The children con- 
tinued to gather large, compact wads of bloodroot, while 
I conversed with the boys; and on our way back across 
the fields Lucile, still in matter-of-fact fashion, held out 
her bunch to me. 

"Take it, if you want it," she said composedly; "I 
don't !" so I inclosed the compressed blossoms with mine ; 
at which they spread out gratefully. Whenever Lucile 
gives me something, which is every time she comes, it 
is always with this shielding air of utter indifference ; but 
I know the warm little heart under the air. 


That evening, under the candle-light, the bloodroot ab- 
solutely shone. I had picked out all the trillium. For 
some time I fear I shall only see it, besmeared with that 
fearful name ! 

# * # 

April 14. 

Early this morning, loud spring-songs from the heart 
of a glad boy, coming merrily over the hill to his fence- 
mending, competed with the chorus of still gladder birds. 
Yesterday, to my astonishment, there was no boy, and 
hours of precious April were wasted. At one o'clock he 
appeared, cheerfully remarking that he had "been paintin' 
his flivver." ... temporal We have no flivver; the 
fence boy, laboring by the day, has. So be it! A few 
things we have, which are more than flivvers. . , . 

Breakfast on the porch, for one. It is a pearl of an 
April morning, misty and mild, with watery sunshine on 
the far hills. Breakfast-tray in my hands, I hesitated 
an instant on the dining-room threshold, then went for the 
wicker table. A faint chill was in the air ; meditating on 
the supposed treachery of spring, I took an ulster out 
with me but wrapped it round the coffee-pot instead. I 
would not so insult the dulcet day. It was gentle as June ; 
the valley was gentle, the woods soft and mild. There 
were gray-blues, gray-browns, grayish pinks ; a faint yel- 
lowing on the trees, a pale emerald in the valley, the white 
glint of a stream; over all, a pearliness. There seemed 
a pearliness of sound, too; a hush of April murmuring. 
Spiritual significances stole from it from the soft air, the 
push of unseen life. Softer and more silent it grew. . , . 
Then a breath of song came from the far woodlands, 
swelled sweetly on one slope of the valley, then subsided, 



while the other slope murmured back the shadow of a 
bird chorus, far, far away. It faintly surged and fell; 
surged and fell. . . . 

Then suddenly my orchard awoke. Every tree had its 
bird! Some of them had several. A grosbeak was near 
by, with his rose-color and black velvet, his velvet voice. 
Three bluebirds flew into the terrace cedar ; the air flashed 
with them. Two of them soon flitted away ; the third, and 
bluest, betook himself into Alpha, which he at once fur- 
nished with azure. Blue as a blue gentian, he was ! and 
his shirt-front a faded rose. Song-sparrows trilled just 
where they were in the bushes, opening their beaks tre- 
mendously. Four merry chickadees revolved in the 
syringa; a bright "Phce-bee!" smote downward from the 
porch roof, and in the pear-tree somebody was "Slee-py ! 
slee-py 1" over and over again. I prayed that Boo-boo was 
in the house. He was. Mostly he disregards birds ; but 
sometimes they regard him. . . . 

On a limb of the big greening, just below the terrace 
wall, a woodpecker was busy. He was pecking and ham- 
mering with the greatest zest, making approving little 
sounds to himself. For a second the black and white head 
would be still, as if resting ; then the carving would begin 
again. He stayed so long on that one spot that I began 
to wonder. He must have found a harvest of grubs! 
Soon his mate arrived, lighting on a limb close by. They 
greeted each other with loud, robin-like chirps, then con- 
versed in more confidential tones. Presently, as he flew 
from the hole, she slid over him (it looked as if she slid 
down the stripes on his back!) and settled upon the cav- 
ity's rim, beginning to carve and hammer away with equal 
energy. . . . Grubs for two? Talking to herself, she 



worked and worked; chips fell rapidly downward and it 
dawned upon me. Their nest! 

Silly woodpeckers ! when the old orchard abounded with 
ready-made knot-holes! But if they wanted to hew out 
a house in that limb they should. It was very dead, bark- 
less, and conspicuous, and this year was to have been 
sawed off; but it should be spared. Last year a chippie 
raised a successful brood in the terrace cedar that over- 
hangs our outdoor table, invariably feeding the wide-open 
beaks at meal-time. As surely as we sat there, would come 
a little form flying into Omega, low over our heads ; on 
a branch the worm would be arranged in a nice bouquet 
to suit baby throats ; then the mother slipped into the cedar 
foliage, emerged, and bent over her nest. A beakful was 
a serious meal ; it was several moments before she ceased 
bending and came out again, giving herself a little shake, 
remarking "Chip!" and flying swiftly away into the or- 
chard. We felt acute gratitude. That one mother's labors 
enabled untold apples to ripen unblemished in the autumn. 
. . , But it was very breathless, eating under her nest! 
A tiger-lily, too, bloomed by that cedar, and its blossoms 
were the goal of an impetuous humming-bird who daily 
swooped down, hummed, scintillated, shot green fire, rifled 
his lily, and departed leaving us to breathe again. 

* * * 

April 15. 

On my duteous way, to-day, through that pasture where 
duty vanishes and becomes joy, I passed whole villages of 
bloodroot nestling in slim hollows and presided over by 
shoots of sumac; narrow, spiry little towns, exactly like 
New England villages with sumacs for elms. It being 



late afternoon, the blossoms were closed, looking like small 
tulip buds, the backs of the petals faintly pink. With its 
shining whiteness, its golden heart open to the sun, a 
bloodroot is a glorious sight ; closed, and with its sympa- 
thetic foliage (also pink-veined) furled about the stalk, 
it is even lovelier. There is a vague maritime suggestion 
about it ; the stem is mast-colored and straight ; and some- 
thing about the furled foliage, the white folding of bloom 
above, hints at tops'ls gathered for the night. . . . 

Farther on there is a hollow in the woods through which 
(still led by stern duty) I had to go. It is a bowl of 
early flowers. Over the tops of tall hemlocks the sun 
pours in ; the air of the slope is pearl-gray with the stems 
of young maples. Winds sway roughly high in their tall 
tops, but never a petal stirs on my flowers. A spot to 
dream of and grow rhododendrons in ! and as I approach 
it I always think of the first line of "Maud," and am glad 
it is not "a dreadful hollow" and that I don't "hate" it. 
(Though how approbation flattens things! It is far more 
literary to hate!) To-day I marveled at the thick 
growth of "spring beauties" fluffing over the ground 
cerise-veined blossoms in a whirl of delicate sea-green 
foliage ; and at the sheets of bloodroot, broken here and 
there by the yellow spike of a chance adder's-tongue 
their paradise is farther along in the woods, where they 
bloom in acres. Then suddenly I saw a blue butterfly 
fluttering ! Bluebird-blue, and daintily small, though not 
as tiny as those swarms of little blue ones we have in 
summer, he settled on the very rosiest of the spring 
beauties. Even a butterfly's weight seemed considerable 
for the hair-like stem; the little blossom trembled and 
sagged. A blue butterfly on a pink-veined flower! As 



he closed his wings, a flash of hot blue went through them 
like a driftwood flame; then instantly they cooled into 
pearl-gray, rimmed with tiny patterns of dark-blue. A 
triumphal shape, those wings curved, reared, like taut 
sloop-sails in a stiff breeze ; and as he sat there, meditat- 
ing, he ground them softly together. Then he began to 
fiddle, stiffly, with fore legs and antennae, among the sta- 
mens of the flower; but as I bent nearer, fancying him 
absorbed, he fluttered away (right under my nose!), com- 
ing blunderingly down again on a neighboring blossom. 
The lusterless sapphire of his bulbous eyes had perception 
behind it; though those eyes don't look as if they could see 

Stiff times, for an April butterfly! The sun had gone 
in, and a chill crept through the woods. I thought he 
would never find his spot in that flower. He groped, and 
groped, and fingered ; then, with all the vehemence of con- 
viction, and while the spring beauty wabbled on its stem, 
he punched at petals, or barely within their narrow cup; 
finally, with a lurch forward like a sinking ship, pre- 
cipitating himself into the pale-green of the honey he 
sought. Even then his fiddling was numb; those fum- 
bling antennae needed warming. Strangely enough, noth- 
ing is clumsier than a cold butterfly. Rising with diffi- 
culty, he flitted languidly from one small cup to another, 
avoiding the more obvious invitation of the bloodroot and 
settling always where he was loveliest on lavender, or 
rosy-pink. Goliath and I stalked him excitedly over 
rocks, around trees, down the steep drop of the hillside. 
Goliath thought it was a bear, at least, that was causing 
such stealth in his mistress's gait; lifting each foot high, 
and as silent as a dog could be in the dead leaves, he stole 



after me, holding his breath. ... I could tell, because 
now and then he let it go in a tense puff. . . . 

Down the hill, over a mossy log I thought we had 
lost him; but bending far down across the log, with a 
backward gesture to a thrilled dog, I sought faithfully 
in the gray-browns of the hollow where he had dropped. 
Ha! on a twig bearing three dead leaves, he sat, gently 
grinding his wings as before. Near-invisible, he was, 
against the bleached gray and browns of the leaves ; my 
April butterfly ! and just as I leaned affectionately closer, 
trying to fancy what in the world the grinding was for 
poof! the observant sapphires would have none of me. 
This time he fluttered quite rapidly away, a dwindling 
woodland jewel; and through the meshes of our abom- 
inable new wire! So the collie and I, obliged to gallop 
round by a barway, lost him. 

' Where is he, Gli ?" I wailed ; whereat Goliath, dashing 
helpfully to the stone wall, peered into a crack of it with 
a profound expression. . . . 

After that, we were quite lukewarm about wire. We 
inspected, languorously; we shook a new barway, and 
found it solid; we acquired a bunch of spring beauties 
for the dining-room table, then made our homeward way 
across the high slopes of the pasture. Buds on the sweet- 
brier ; an inch of real grass in the more extravagant hol- 
lows ; violet leaves starting oh ! a lavish diet for ponies. 
As soon as wire is strung can it be I shall heave hay 
no more? For it is only in striding over provender like 
this that a slight impatience comes. Why heave? Why 
trickle hay-seed within the receptive collar when a pas- 
ture table is spread ? 

Once in the barn-yard, however, rebellion sinks. Hay 


it is and ever will be, cries that dusty or muddy spot; and 
I pick my way across it with little but patience and pitch- 
forks in my soul. In the west, gray and violet clouds, 
with apricot edges, let through a beam of sun. It hit a 
far hill, turning it a watery yellow-pink. Other hills 
were dull blue, or storm gray ; among them this lone pink 
bit shone. To the south a dull growl sounded, where 
muffled, whitish heads loomed: an April thunder-storm! 
to match my April butterfly. The watery pink leaped 
across more hills and vanished; louder and louder grew 
the growls ; and the collie and I raced to throw open the 
barn doors. Superb and her children voluntarily waded 
across the paddock swamp, it was odd to see their legs 
sink into bright green and come out inky black! while 
the horses and yard ponies fairly poured in on top of each 
other. They know what thunder means. And, as Goliath 
and I dashed for the 'house, white sheets of rain were 
sweeping up the valley, and the long roar of it marching 
across the woods. 

Except for the occasional energy of such storms, this 
has been an indolent and languorous April. "A month 
ahead of time why hurry?" she seems to say. Even the 
grass-blades are deliberate; if they hurry, it is at night 
when no one sees. April has had a teasing hand over 
them. One day she says "Grow, now!" and lets a hot 
sun down on them; the next, she claps a frost on their 
exertions. That, so far, has been her form of whimsy, 
not those "tears and smiles" with which she is forever 
taxed. She has simply stood over the thermometer and 
hauled it up and down a new toy, for a silly April ! 

Even this thunder-storm trailed but the tip of an irra- 
tional wing over us ; growlings and rain were all we had, 



when any other April would have banged us heartily. This 
one seems not to know what she wants and is lazy 
about it besides! 

April 17. 

Sunday, and raining hard. I have written a thousand 
words, stared a song-sparrow out of countenance, read 
half a book I did n't like, been nearly hit in the head by 
Kim's fore legs, eaten entirely too much dinner, and 
watched the leaves on the cinnamon rose-bushes grow. 
Yesterday morning there were no leaves ; to-day they are 
pickable. Boo-boo has spent the day passionately sleeping, 
holding his nose on with his paw. The curl of that orange 
paw fills me with joy. Just now he is sleeping on one ear, 
his head upside down, one long, white whisker pointing 

This morning, when it began to pour, he sat on the sill 
of the open door a moment ; "Pr-oo !" said he conclusively 
and made for his chair again. When I built a fire be- 
side him, he fairly cheered me on, sitting up on purpose, 
tossing his nose approvingly in the midst of tremendous 
yawns ; then he reached up and clawed my sweater grate- 
fully. "Pr-ow!" he murmured; then detached himself 
and curled down. . . . Who says cats are not weather- 
prophets ? And so I have had an orange ball near me to 
light up the gray day. My pot of daffodils! If Boo 
had n't been yellow, I picked him out because he was, 
what pleasure one would have missed. One does n't want 
a cold-colored cat in this climate. 

My song-sparrow was on the terrace, in the rain, obvi- 
ously killing time. I never saw a bird do that before. 



Four times he carefully picked up a straw and laid it 
down! Finally, he abandoned it for a wet oat. He had 
a dreadful time husking that oat, because it was wet. Just 
as he finished, and hopped under a bush, a drop fell on 
him ; he shook his tail violently. Then he made prolonged 
advances to another straw. Just as I was murmuring, 

"Oh, the darling, he 's building his n " he dropped it 

and began looking about him, senselessly chirping. . . . 
Over one shoulder, over the other shoulder, hop hop hop ; 
up into the rain, down at his toes, hop hop hop ; up again, 
when, seeing me, he bent over and took a long and earnest 
run into the bushes the only earnest thing he had done. 

As for Kim, that angel of the winter-time, he now 
comes out of his stable in the pose of the British unicorn. 
He has no spike in his forehead, I am glad he has n't, 
but he has hoofs and fore legs, and is fond of flourishing 
them. He makes a beautiful figure, dancing along on 
two legs, his neck strongly curved, nostrils distended, and 
green fire shooting from his eyes, but his gestures are 
unexpected. This morning, en route to the watering- 
trough, one of them nearly got me "in the brainpan," as 
Howard Pyle's knights would say. "Devil !" I muttered, 
as he drank at the trough, his ears winking back and 
forth; "You would, would you?" and when he backed 
away, rolling a wicked eye, I whirled a rope-end before 
his nose all the way back to the barn. That occupied his 

After this, if he goes only one step from his box, it 
will be with bit and bridle. I am sorry. Kim and I have 
been so confidential all winter, and now I shall have to 
wave things in his face and roar at him, and by degrees 
the sweet expression he has gained from months of pet- 



ting will go, and the eye of wrath take its place. He had 
an awful eye last autumn. If it was n't fierce it was sar- 
castic ; and at twilight, when I approached him in the field 
and he stood at the end of his rope, eying me with that 
bright, ironic look, I felt like running away. You cannot 
look Kim out of countenance. He looks you! And a 
sarcastic expression, on a beast, is far more sinister than 

# # * 

April iB. 

My neighbors are very good about my various sections 
of fence that adjoin their various pastures. Seven neigh- 
bors! And not a battle yet with any of them. Every 
year I have a visit from one or another of them ; about 
dusk, of a spring evening, he knocks at one of my doors 
the house, perplexingly, has five and remarks, cheer- 
fully, that it 5 s a fine evenin'. I assent. How well I know 
what he has come to say ! 

"I 'd like I wanted to know what you was goin' to 
have done to that brush fence, ma'am. Coin* to turn out 
m' young cattle, ef I kin, next week and them old posts 
air pretty much rotted off. Now, ef there was some good 
.posts and a strand or two o' barbed wire" etc., etc. 
Amiably we discuss the technicalities of fence construc- 
tion, and part on excellent terms; and I watch his tired 
walk toiling back across the fields. I have an immense 
fellow-feeling for these hard-worked men. They are so 
weary, and yet so kind. Very often they offer to do the 
work themselves if I supply the material. Money is 
scarce; but capacity for toil is 'always theirs. "Henry" 
and "John" labored days for me, on our respective sec- 
tions, right in "spring's works/' too. And they were jolly 



about it ! They joked as they set the heavy posts ; and I 
wish some Union boss could have seen those two men 
buckling at their work; it would have disturbed him 
greatly. I rode down late one afternoon in the edge of 
a thunder-storm that was muttering nearer and nearer 
over the hills, and found them still at their job. Henry, 
with mighty blows, was setting up a post, while John ham- 
mered in staples over woven wire. Great drops of rain 
were falling, but when I commented, "What a lot you Ve 
done to-day !" John, smiling, merely murmured, "We Ve 
been busy some !" and leaped nimbly for another post. 

That is their tone a sort of careless ardor. The art 
that conceals art. ... It i? an art to put up forty rods of 
good wire fence in a day adjusting it to the chins and 
chest of varied beasts, and making a jest of it meanwhile ! 
And then go home and milk and feed fourteen cows . . . 
and horses . . . separate milk, tend pigs and calves, chop 
wood, carry it in, and by and by quite as an after- 
thought have your own supper. And be decent to your 
family meanwhile ! . . . 

# * # 

April 19. 

Two mornings ago I woke to a despairing sight : wood- 
lands white with fleecy snow, and the emerald of the fields 
glimmering through a wintry covering. They looked like 
pale-green silk under muslin the evening frock of years 
ago. . . . But it was all wrong. The world was turned 
inside out ; things that should have been dark were light 
and vice versa. Even every twig was fluffy with snow; 
the terrace syringa one round mop of it. 

"It's not beautiful!" I murmured obstinately; "it's 



But it was. There were tints seen through tints, warm 
color against cool white, all the things that had charmed 
me months ago. But one did not want any more cool 
white ! Yesterday had been summer, and now a shrewd 
east wind was blowing, the wettest of wet snows steadily 
falling. The horses stayed in the stable and I over the 
fire, all of us rebelling ; and when toward night a warmer 
wind blew I could have shouted with delight. The snow 
was visibly fading away. 

The next day was one cold soak of rain, but hills were 
very green, the plowed patches more chocolate than ever, 
and so there was hope ; and when I was roused this morn- 
ing by a woodpecker on my window-sill and a sunbeam 
in my eye it seemed the happiest of worlds. The sky 
was the softest blue a bit teary yet from the storm ; soft 
white clouds with purplish shadows floated in it. A 
million birds were singing. A warm breath met me as 
I flung open the porch door; the air was blue with blue- 
birds^ thick with flutterings and song. Fragrances jumped 
at one; color dazzled. I made three leaps and got the 
kitchen fire going, tore out to the barn and fed everybody, 
dashed back again and tossed a breakfast upon the wicker 
table, for: 

The ponies were going out ! ! ! 

In a distant world of cities, it might be Patriot's day, 
or some such vague thing; here it was Pasture day, a 
real and riotous fact. To celebrate it, we ran no set and 
labored Marathons; we simply ran! We flew and we 
raced, we made designs of ourselves on the hillsides, and 
Greek friezes on the tops of knolls ; we milled in gallop- 
ing circles, or dived down cliffs in a streaming, line ; we 
were Valkyr-horses against the sky we were pastel 



studies, and water-colors, and incentive for endless 
sculpture ! 

All because wire was up! Except for one short 
stretch; near enough, surely, for a celebration. (But how 
I did hope they would n't see that bit in the woods. . . . ) 

For a week I had had a harassing time with them. The 
barn-yard, after a spell of decency, was newly muddy, 
and they hated it. So did I. They could see Superb 
and her gang outside, wandering whither they would ; so 
they broke down my fence, and Henry's fence, and the 
fence of two combined and wrathful boys, escaping so 
persistently into the mowing where they made a bee-line 
for our precious new-seed piece, young and tender and 
tearable-up by the roots that I had to shut them in the 
sheds, where they mourned and moped. 

"Worse off than in winter-time !" they told me accus- 
ingly; I knew they were, and it hurt. Sinking in the 
mud, carrying loads of hay through that morass of a 
barn-yard, was physically painful enough; but having to 
say harsh words to a crowd of wistfully emerging ponies, 
and then to close the door firmly again in their innocent, 
woeful faces that was almost more than one could 
bear. ... 7 had been where the turf was springing, the 
bloodroot blossoming, and adder's-tongue carpeting the 
woods ; I knew how it felt to want just that, and want it 
more than anything else. . . . 

So this morning I made up my mind. Abandoning the 
literary arts, I ran around making things as tight as pos- 
sible, putting up new bars, assisting weak spots in the 
old wire of the lane, weaving in fresh saplings wherever 
saplings might help. Then, pretending to pick my way 
soberly through the mud, but in reality treading on 



rainbows ! I ^arrived at the sheds and unbuttoned the 
doors. Ponies stepped out slowly, without expectation, 
thinking they were just going to be watered and put back. 
They dawdled over the sill, pulling their legs limply across. 
A few started directly toward the trough, but Carrick 
Dare, from mere habit, glanced back at the barway. . . . 
Like a shot, he swung round ; the rest swung with him ; 
and I smiled to see the change in their expressions. Slack 
ears shot forward, a gleam came into their eyes and 
in one sudden mob they poured, jostling and kicking, 
out the lane, nabbing green bites as they ran, but mostly 
frolicking straight outward, and up the brown knoll. . . , 

Liberty, more desirable art thou than food! ... A 
happy mist in my eyes, I watched them. . . . 

Then I jumped into Polly's saddle. She had had a 
thrilling week of pony-chasing and now bolted out the 
lane, thinking she had to bring back that whole galloping 
mob; but there was no haste; I just thought it well to 
follow along and see what they did; also to inspect one 
or two spots in the fence. Cressy-cow, with a very 
superior expression, was by a sweetbrier bush not far 
away, grazing leisurely; she had been in pasture since 
early morning she had ! . . . 

"Old story now, is it, Cressy?" I inquired. 

She stared at us, and blew a breath or two; but, when 

1 passed she started after. A chance for a walk with 
Missis ! and she broke into a laborious cow-trot to catch 
up. "Coming with us?" I asked, holding Polly in; a 
coltish gambol was her reply. So round by the fence and 
over the hill she followed, sometimes frolicking ahead 
down a slope, sometimes lingering to tear off the top of a 
sprouting weed, but keeping up a genial average of com- 



panionship. Of course we conversed as we went. Cressy 
simply drinks in conversation ; I think that is why she is 
so keen to go on walks. 

"Fissin' her feet all lovely, old dear, so she won't 'tep on 
a 'tone?" I inquire, as she paces downhill beside us, 
picking her way in the rough path ; and Cressy, nodding 
consciously along, seems to assent with every step. Baby- 
talk makes her simply glow with contentment! 

At a corner of the wall she stopped. Grass was long 
there, and though she did n't want to admit it she was 
a bit winded, keeping up with Polly's restless pace. So 
up the steeps we mountaineered, staring sadly at stumps 
of great trees recently slain, just beyond our line we 
shall miss them against that northern valley; up by an 
old butternut that the wind had lately broken off, till the 
top of the High Knoll was reached. There our own 
fence began again. Downhill now, on the other side; 
before us an enormous, bumpy world, soft with spring 
color, shining with bright streams. 

We plunged into a copse, where Polly twisted and 
ducked and said, "I don't want to go in here !" But there 
was an uninspected boundary at the bottom, so down we 
went, plowing deep into brown leaves and leaf loam, 
blundering over roots, finally arriving at the back line 
also at a most squashed specimen of fence. This neigh- 
bor had lumbered right over it ! Polly and I cocked our 
respective heads suspiciously, Polly being unwilling to 
proceed into those branches, I to mend fence some one 
else had smashed. 

"If he busted it, Pip," I argued, "hasn't he got to 
fix it?" 

We scrabbled on. At the top, I dismounted and re- 



saddled, such had been the slant we had climbed. Once 
more mountains confronted us also, more trees over 
the wire. White birches this time poor, pretty 
things ! . . . "Yes, Pip," I said firmly, "he has got to 
fix it !" Light of heart, it is so much easier for men to 
do these things, than for me! we minced along, down 
a wood-road the other side of the knoll It is much over- 
grown, and brush drizzled thickly past one's 'stirrups. 
Turning into the clear woods to avoid this, we scared 
up another butterfly and I pulled my horse in. ... But 
it was not blue; it had no Valkyr tilt to its wings; and 
while it was a good, leisurely, brown butterfly with cream* 
colored edges, and looked charming in the bare, sun-lit 
gray of the woods, we let it flutter by us and did not 
stalk it. I had had my April butterfly. This one was 
the distressingly tame kind that gets into the mayonnaise 
when we have salad on the terrace. 

In the wood-road again, I stopped Polly so short she 
ran backward. . . . Leaves! Round the middle of a 
maple sapling! a tiny whorl of them but actual tree- 
leaves. The first. ... I think I was never so moved by 
sight of a leaf. All winter one had waited for just 
this moment for all that the coming of spring and 
summer meant ; my child at home. . . . But why should 
this abnormal sapling have its leaves first ? In this forest 
of grays and browns? Other saplings, both middle and 
top, were bare ; but here was this independent young thing 
with a belt of twinkling yellow-green that shone like 
jewels in the leafless woods. 

Passing a lovely little rock-garden, the wood-road 
swerved out upon a terrace of the pasture where a low, 
black- and rose-colored cliff interrupts the steady climb of 


the turf. The cliff's foot was trimmed with a snowy edge 
of bloodroot. In one rocky cove the blossoms looked like 
surf thrown up by the green tide a flood of it, bursting 
on the dark rock. Along the edge of the woods, too, were 
not only small villages but sheets and borders of it, 
miraculously shining in the sun, and so to Polly's disgust, 
I stopped again. She not only dislikes halts ; she had her 
old eye fixed on the barn-yard far below, and yearned 
to be there. . . . But that bloodroot! Even Gli looks 
now when I cry, "Oh, see the flowers !" He does n't know 
what to look at, but he looks ; and his mere, chivalrous 
attention is consoling. For Polly has no time for such 
dalliance. "Continuez toujours, mes enf ants !" She has 
no patience with sunsets; she even walks so 'fast in the 
woods that one can hardly see anything; so, with vexed, 
backward looks at the splashing white and gold, I let her 
continuer long before I was ready. . . . (Combat breaks 
fatally into one's sense of beauty ; I have learned to dis- 
mount if I want to see anything!). 

We swung into a wood trail again. A certain "hunch" 
about Ocean Wave's whereabouts was stealing down my 
spine. I had not glimpsed a pony since they first rushed 
out of sight ; could it be that Ocean so soon had led them 
away to her old haunt? I loosed Polly's rein and let 
her go. Crossing a stream just where it dived into 
hemlocks, we came to the Cave of the Winds a hollow 
evergreen chamber, with the path winding through, and 
leading out into a sumac grove fronting mountains. 
Under the hot April sun, wild strawberries were in 
blossom. Traversing the dead-looking grove, whose 
sticky, fuzzy antlers rudely protruded at us, we saw a 
bright-green corner of my neighbor's pasture, then a 



group of old apple-trees; and under them what alto- 
gether cursed colors? yellow and brown and white and 
black yes, Ocean and her slaves, already devouring my 
neighbor's substance! 

It did seem as if they might have waited overnight! 
And we rode wrathfully down the steep. It was like 
going down a chimney! My saddle was on Polly's 
neck. . . . There may have been flowers, but we did not 
see them, having a baleful eye on legs instead. The gleam 
of the chase leaped into Polly's eye. . . . Grimly I 
slammed down the poplar bars, went sucking through a 
swamp and out upon sward again, Polly gathering under 
me like springs. . . . Cooing, we surrounded them ; howl- 
ing, we pursued; they fled and dodged, but Pip was 
faster at it, and, at last, through the bar-way hopped the 
last tail. Breathless, I hurled in the bars, mounted, and 
was after them, Pip leaping brooks and bushes like a 
maniac; then, urging and shouting, up the long climb 
through the woods, around divers corners, and out into 
safe pasture again. From there it was a home stretch, 
follow the fence, and simply keep 'em going ! We did ; 
galloped across the flat and into the yard, where I jumped 
off and shot the whole gang, puffing and blowing, behind 
shed doors. 

Then I buttoned them in. Despairing noses stuck up 
over the half -door ; a pang tore me, but I left them. . . . 
One more night ; then that fence would be done ! 

Donlinna, Pud, Elizabeth, and Queen were not among 
these sinners ; and, strolling out after tea, I was exulting 
in the thought that they, at least, were virtuous, and out 
in the fragrance and the lovely soft air, when a casual 
boy emerged from the dusk of the field. 



"I see some of your little ponies up thar in th' mowing 1" 
he remarked cheerfully. 

"In my mowing?" I repeated. 

"Yes J m. Up thar by th' woods. Four-five of 'em!" 

Ye gods ! that one bit left undefended in the corner of 
the woods they 'd found it ! I thanked the boy. "Come, 
Gli !" I said, in level tones. Gli waggled his tail doubt- 
fully. He does n't care to accompany wrath. "Come on, 
darling !" I coaxed ; and he gamboled gladly by my side, 
apologizing and explaining. . . . And I had thought my 
voice so judicial! Gli knows me better than I know 

Well after sunset but clear light still lay on fields 
and woods. We started hurriedly, but soon slowed down. 
What hurry was there? (Though I always feel like 
rushing when ponies are out!) We had all night to get 
them in. They were in a nice safe corner and always ran 
down beautifully from there. It seems to amuse them. 
Besides, it was too beautiful, too holy, for hurry; my 
spirit calmed as we walked. The very turf of the road 
was serene. On every side rose the soft, mysterious 
sounds of evening. Rounding a sudden knoll, one of 
those glacial efforts with which my farm abounds, I 
could see shapes against the dusky purple of the high 
woods. Poor dears ! How should they know that mow- 
ing is not pasture that they were eating up next winter's 

Climbing the hill, I felt more indulgent at every step. 
Behind the brown western woods the sky was stained a 
soft red ; the tree-tops brushed beautifully into it I saw 
wide dusky valleys, the old house in its orchards, the 
purple hills, and above the moon! A mellow moon, 



nearly full. Bless the ponies, for taking one up there! 
This was one of the finest spots on the farm for a moon- 
rise, backed by woods, so that all the world lay to the 
east. Water gleamed in the valleys ; color was still soft 
and clear. The moon apparently had no connection with 
anything, shed no light, did nothing but adorn, hanging in 
the empty sky a mere, lovely portrait of a moon. 

Suddenly a thrush sang behind me in the silent woods. 
The first thrush and in April ! He sang again divinely ; 
from the deep woods came his mate's arpeggio. Oh, the 
lovely things! Those few, thrilling contralto notes the 
very spirit of dusk, of the deep woods. "Doo doodle- 
oodle-oo!" . . . And the deep red behind the trees. It 
all went together. Very thin, on a whiffle of breeze from 
a distance, came a peeping of frogs; and I frowned in- 
voluntarily. "Don't! Please listen!" And the thrush 
spoke again. . . . 

After that, even the silence was rich with beauty. 
Something soft touched my hand; Donlinna had stolen 
up behind me and was stretching a timid nose for love. 
I put my arm about her neck and laid my cheek on it. 
It was satin-smooth, and soft and warm. "Did you know 
I was lonely, Donny?" I whispered. She pointed her 
nose delicately downward, slowly sniffing every inch of 
me, to my boot-toes. These she slightly licked; while I 
stood very still, looking down upon the top of that sweet 
wild head, with its tossed chestnut foretop. Then she 
lifted it, staring musingly across the valley. Horses feel 
beauty; she was strangely quiet. "You dear!" I mur- 
mured, stroking the soft silvery-gold of her nostrils. . . . 

But then the Maharajah came jealously up, wondering 
a little; and important Elizabeth, with the moon's light on 



her wool and ink-black shadows under all her curves ; last, 
Queen, tagging wherever Elizabeth led. . . . Behind the 
trees the red was dying, but the thrushes sang on. Dusk 
deepened. I took the Maharajah by his reasonable 
halter: "Come, children!" They followed all except 
Donlinna, who lingered, did an abrupt gambol, posed a 
minute against the sky, then, to my horror, dashed 
dramatically down the very steepest place with a noise 
like an avalanche, scaring the two youngsters, carving up 
hooffuls of soft sod, and crashing insanely ahead of us 
down the lane. ... It was as well I had not tried to lead 
her. Her thunderings had made even the dignified 
Maharajah caper in my grasp ; but a word adjusted him. 
I love the spontaneous young; but there is something 
soothing about a well-broken animal. Will our Donny 
ever be that ? 

I could not shut them up under roofs ! I simply turned 
them again into the barn-yard, closing the gate on their 
indecisive tails. I fancied they would stay together and 
stay in. ... Later on, Goliath and I patrolled above the 
maple-grove in the bright moonlight, and there they were, 
in a cozy hollow, on nice, soft pies of everlasting all four 
of them fast asleep. 

I should like to sleep on everlasting myself. It sounds 
dry even when it isn't, and has a pleasant, dried smell. 
It makes a thick pad on the ground. One approves of 
it, dead and flat like this far more than of the upright 
summer sort that grows and grows where you don't want 
it. And it was a pretty silvery color in the moonlight. 
Pud had the end of his nose resting on the ground in 
that afflicted attitude horses love; and such a black blot 
of shadow under his neck. Elizabeth was rolled in a 



ball, pearly white, with ink-black cracks; and Donny's 
gold and silver ankles shone, all curled together in a 
bunch. The dears ! 

Gli, beside me, shifted his front feet and gave a patient 
sigh. This undue scrutiny of sleeping beasts - ? He 
had digested them, long ago. ... So, herded by approv- 
ing wags, I went slowly home. . . . That moonlight ! It 
was almost too clear. I could have mended fence by 
it. ... And all the world was moon-blue. 

April 20. 

For the last week the woodpecker's hole in the old 
greening has been a scene of conflict Early one sunny 
morning I heard strange sounds loud chirring and 
whirring ; and there, hanging to the edge of his hole was 
the big woodpecker, with two bluebirds trying to fight 
him away! It was they that were doing the chirring 
and whirring. First one would sweep down on him, a 
flash of indignant blue, then the other, Mrs. Bird a 
fainter blue than her mate, buttevery bit as good a fighter. 
At each flash the woodpecker nimbly ducked and chip- 
pered faintly to himself, but still he hung to the edge 
of his hole. ... It was his hole! I had watched him 
carve it ; but somehow my illegal sympathies were all with 
the invaders. ... As their attacks grew faster and more 
venomous, he gave a desperate bob right round the limb 
and came up onto another one. With shrieks of rage the 
bluebirds redoubled their swoops, banging fiercely at him 
at short range, so that as he ducked under the branch 
from one blow another would meet him as he came up ; 
till at last and I had been amazed at his uncombative 



persistence he cried unhappily, "Peenk!" and flew 
swiftly downhill to his favorite line of wild cherry-trees. 

Then the two bluebirds, with great cheepings and chat- 
terings, assembled on a twig just outside the precious hole 
and compared notes. Such tender wing-flutterings! 
Such mutual confidences, and long, long stories to relate ! 
Every moment one of them would fly to the hole and 
hang there, as if illustrating some point in a story, then 
fly back, to be met with more wing-flutterings and con- 
tralto solicitudes. All the time I was at the porch table 
these colloquies continued; and when I went in the two 
little victors were still sitting on their twig, their azure 
backs in the sun, ... It was the watching-post for the 

Next morning there was the same scene. This time 
the woodpecker was in the bald top of the tree, clear of 
branches, so that his assailants had him even more at 
their mercy. A woodpecker is not a strategic fighter. 
Dodge as nimbly as he would (and dodging seems to be 
a woodpecker's forte), grievous were the blows that fell 
on him. Mr. Bluebird to-day was one incessant streak of 
wrath, and he and Mrs. Bird flashed so fast that the dead 
top of the tree seemed ablaze with color. . . . Lovely, 
to have a nice bright-blue fight served regularly for break- 
fast ! And yet it was a strange sight, in the peace of the 
sunny morning, with buds and blossoms waving above 
the quiet fields and this hot battle going on in the 
air. ... I was sorry for the woodpecker; he seemed so 
genuinely astonished and dismayed, the shrieks of the 
bluebirds so disproportionate. But when he did fly away 
his departing "Peenk!" was angrier than before. This 
thing was becoming serious! ... All day, at intervals, 



the combat was desperately renewed; the shrieks set in 
worse than ever. The woodpecker, and sometimes his 
mate with him, would fly up with quick, determined wing- 
strokes, from the line of wild cherries below (it was 
their greening tree, and their pet hole !) ; then louder than 
ever were their unhappy notes and the cries of the little 
invaders. . . . 

Next day, after a long and exhausting bout, the wood- 
peckers, with a departing duet of peenks, went off in a 
straight flight to a distant wood. The two little bluebirds, 
returning, lighted together on a slender twig, which 
bounced up and down with their weight. It was funny 
to see them stare at each other. And then they snuggled 
amicably together. Soon, with solicitous gurgling and 
conversation, Mrs. Bird left her lord; after first flut- 
tering and hovering at the edge of the hole (while the 
gentleman danced with excitement on his twig), she took 
the momentous step. She slipped in! It hid her com- 
pletely. I expected to see at least a tail-feather, but there 
was nothing. She was gone. Her mate seemed beside 
himself. He warbled ; he broke his warble short off and 
began to chir and chipper; he flew a few inches here, a 
few inches there, then came back to his twig and fairly 
foamed at the mouth. 

At last she came out, giving herself a little shake. 
What had she been doing? He dashed to meet her, 
escorting her to her favorite seat. There, for a long time, 
they cooed and sang; enormous, as usual, was the tale 
she had to tell. . . . Little darling things, with their 
backs glowing blue in the sun, their rose-colored breasts 
fluffing! it looked as if that hole in the bare limb would 
rear bluebird babies, now. I hoped it would. 



To-day I am sure. Mrs. Bird has definitely disap- 
peared. Husband's blue back is on duty; face toward 
the hole, he watchfully sits. Sliding about on the twig, 
he murmurs to himself ; sometimes he bursts into irrepres- 
sible song; often he is on the wing, bringing supplies to 
his lady within. But if ever the flit-flit of a woodpecker, 
even a glint of his checkered black and white, is seen, the 
little blue songster becomes six birds; he shouts and 
dashes, the tree is full of him ; and the poor woodpecker, 
convinced that a bluebird army is occupying his once 
home, gives a submissive cry and departs. One afternoon 
I saw him on the tip of another dead limb not far away. 
It was very dead, it had possibilities, and he was inspect- 
ing it. But his interest soon died. It wasn't his own 
branch. For at least ten minutes he sat there, turning 
a critical head, gazing at the view, now and then taking a 
quick preen at one of his feathers; but almost, for a 
woodpecker, doing nothing. Once he looked squarely 
over at the old greening. For anything so sharp and tool- 
like as a hairy woodpecker, he looked positively senti- 
mental. Those shavings in the grass already turning 
gray. . . . 

But I do miss my morning fight ! 

* * * 

April 21. 

Earliest spring is passing. I hate to see it go. Petals 
are lying in white rings about the bloodroot plants, and 
in our sunny little woods below the house, where was such 
a garden of adder's-tongues, the blossoms are curling up 
their yellow points with a sort of hot, despairing vitality 
their last, valiant flourish before fading. 


The log cabin feeling has been very strong of late. I 
have been housecleaning, while yearning to be outdoors. 
Why have cupboards? I asked myself, as I plunged my 
head in and out of their uninspiring depths ; or why things 
that fill up cupboards? when all any sane being wants, 
besides shelter and a fire, is enough of one sort of clothes 
to wear? Preferably riding-clothes. And yet here are 
layers of superfluities and frills, simply planned to ensnare 
one at the sweetest time of year. . . . 

More days, too, of rain and heavy cloud. I have lost 
most of the moon, and almost lost my poplar-leaves the 
first, precious stage of them, when they are tiny and 
twinkling and lemon-colored, and scented like lemon-peel. 
I rode under a tree of them yesterday, however, and was 
nearly knocked over by fragrance; so there will still be 
some left at camp if Polly and I can get there this after- 
noon. Perhaps a whitethroat will be indulgent, and sit 
among them, singing. 

Yesterday, in a soft rain, I picked my first violet. It 
grew all alone on the edge of the high knoll, a violet that 
liked a view. The view was mostly fog, but near color 
was brilliant, and the gray vanishing of things poetic. 
No ponies were in sight, but in an emerald hollow reposed 
my Cressy, all alone, complaisant in the gentle rain as 
only a cow and I can be. (I owe that and it's no 
inconsiderable boon to an English bringing up.) She 
was, as usual, chewing solemnly, and eying me with 
benevolence. Out for a mere walk, I wandered about 
gathering a flower here and there; Cressy lumbered to 
her feet. My job looked congenial, to a cow. She 
stretched one hind leg elaborately, and arranged her 
tail in a circle on her spine the last touch of geniality; 


then she sauntered after me. I turned an unreceptive 

"No! I sha'n't give you my flowers!" So she set a 
long profile to the fog, and merely watched. The rain 
grew steadier. I receded. " J By, Cressy!" Not a bit of 
it! with her customary hop of pleasure, this parlor pet 
capered after me, shaking the ground with her gambol- 
ings. She gained my side, and, with a loud "Whoo !" of 
contentment, fell into step. Her cowy breath, sweet and 
milky, came up to me ; her head nodded ; in her eye was 
satisfaction. Goliath, with his usual tact, accompanied 
us on the other side of the fence, so as not to worry 
Cressy. I once asked him to do that; and now he was 
stealing along, sending sad, resigned glances at an unat- 
tainable Missis. . . . 

"Cressy," I said, with a hand on the back of her warm 
neck, "can't I ever go up the knoll without bringing you 
down? It '11 make a lot of walking for you." 

But she strode the more earnestly beside me, with 
determined little puffs. Down the mother-bank the 
slope where pony-mothers sun themselves and into the 
lane ; then Cressy marched solemnly to the trough. She 
hates to admit she is a "dry" cow, turned out, with no 
human connection I think Cressy esteems humans more 
than her own kind ; so, after the ceremonial of the trough, 
she directed her orderly steps to the barn and stood by 
the rear door, gazing expectantly at me. 

"Sentimental about your stable still?" I asked her, 
smiling, but still she gazed. 

"You 're not going to be milked," I argued, turning my 
collar down the rain had ceased and starting to walk 
away. "You know you 're not !" I threw at her def en- 


sively over my shoulder. I hated to leave her staring so 

wistfully, her front feet up on that stone step. I did n't 

want her to think I was deserting her, after she had 

waddled all the way down with me in the rain. And 

"Aw-aw!" murmured Cressy, gently, behind me. 

That was too much. I wheeled. "Want to come in?" 

"Mm-m!" she assented eagerly; and hoisted herself 

through the narrow door, fairly bolting into her stanchion. 

"Silly old goose!" I said, hitching her; "when you 

might be outdoors!" But, doing her elephant-dance of 

pleasure on the empty floor, she gazed at me with ineffable 

eyes. Home, once more ! . . . 

* * * 

April 25. 

The jibbety-bird has come ! I woke this morning with 
a sunbeam on my pillow and two or three worries, too; 
my seed-oats hadn't come, the commercial "phosphate" 
seemed mostly street-sweepings, when "jibbety-jibbety- 
jibbety jib!" came from a tree outside. I sat up, laugh- 
ing, worries forgotten. "Bless you, jibbety-bird!" I 
hadn't heard him for a year; I have never really seen 
him yet. He jibbeties round overhead at camp, and we 
crane our necks, but in vain. But he is our most humor- 
ous bird, and we adore him. He flits from tree to tree, 
joking as he goes. "Jibbety, fibbety fib!" Who could 
resist that? 

Coming dawn-stairs and opening the door, a scent of 
almonds wafted strongly to me. The hedge of plum- 
bushes was out ! Overnight it had bloomed, for yesterday 
I saw only the pinkish buds, with a hint of bronze foliage. 
No cherry-blossom in Japan can be more beautiful than 



this straggling hedge round the old wall Stone is won- 
derfully becoming to blossoms; and these pinkish things 
can show themselves, too, against the sky, against vivid 
green meadows, or a dark-blue mountain it depends 
where one stands to look. Bees are busy about them, 
rejoicing who wouldn't? in plum-flavored honey. 
Breakfast outdoors is a fiesta, now; one forgets to eat. 
Just as I sat down to-day, however, tragedy intervened; 
I rushed and saved my chipmunk. I had seen the sleek 
little gray head peering above the corner of the wall; it 
stayed there, chewing merrily, apparently unaware of my 
presence. Then a yellow thing glided across the grass; 
I leaped so did the cat; there was a mad scuffling in 
leaves and Boo-boo, fishing venomously in a chink of the 
wall, brought out my poor little friend upside down, all 
his pretty white stomach showing, his shoulder and one 
fore paw in the cat's mouth; his brown eye wide open, 
piteous. ... I fell on Boo: "Drop that chipmunk!" 
Whirling eyes of astonishment, Boo-hoo obediently re- 
laxed his grip. 

"Whick!" said my friend, and was gone in the wall. 
Later, I went out to see how the rescued one was. I 
fancied awful tooth-marks, perhaps an injured back ; but 
there he was cocked up on a stone right by the fatal 
corner, "not a shade on his brow," as novelists say; and 
gazing at me with unimpaired impudence. "You are a 
tough chipmunk !" I muttered; and he ably washed his 
face. Apparently being in a cat's mouth is an every-day 

And at lunch, which I had outdoors, with a fragrant 
currant bush blossoming at my elbow, there he was not 
five feet away, poising on the wall again frightfully 



mumpy as to cheeks, staring at me with bulging brown 
eyes and one hand on his heart. . . . Why did he come, 
if I was such a paralyzing sight? My bluebird flew by 
to his tree with a beakful of worms, and I dreadfully 
wanted to watch him feed Mrs. Bird, and see whether she 
met him half-way and stuck her head out of the hole, or 
whether he had to disappear all over in the hole himself ; 
but I felt that this was the moment to find out, once for 
all, which could sit still the longest, chipmunk or I. ... 
So I sat. And he sat. He did n't stir a whisker. His 
head was raised and turned to one side, with those absurd 
mumps protruding; he had the air of a martyr. My ham 
and eggs were cooling and the tea-pot ; but I was n't a 
bit sorry for myself. I wondered what he had in those 
pearl-gray cheeks ; I loved the shadings in his silky under- 
coat, of which he was giving me so prolonged a view ; I 
pitied the suspense of that hand on a beating heart ; but 
outwardly I was as still as Omega, stiller, because I 
didn't wave in the wind. Except for a lock of hair, 
or two. . . . 

After an age, he slowly, very slowly, began to lower 
that hand. In the course of several minutes it hung about 
half-way down to the stone on which he sat. And there, 
with his nose dramatically uplifted, a brown eye beseech- 
ing heaven, he let it hang for more minutes. I heaved 
an unconscious sigh. One was rather hungry! But I 
would see what was the idea of this possum business. In 
the winter I had stood at windows in uncomfortable poses 
often enough and then given it up; this time I would 
see it out. The little gray hand was stealthily sinking 
again. When it reached the stone and became a foot, 
would he say "Whick!" and vanish? or would he run, 



with the cargo in those bumpy cheeks, to the hole near by 
which had been his destination, and from which he was 
being restrained by a winking giant in a splint-bottomed 
chair ? 

Just then came the smallest of sounds: Goliath, asleep 
behind me, had lifted his head. . . . My chipmunk's stone 
was empty ! With not even the courtesy of a whick, he 
had invisibly while I was staring at him gone! In 
fact, there never had been a chipmunk. The world was 
empty of them. . . . Exasperated, I resumed my cold 
eggs and tepid tea. As usual, I had learned nothing. . . . 
But I could not regret those moments. Longer than ever 
before, my eyes had lingered on the very pattern of his 
nostrils the soft spot in his sleek stomach where the 
breath puffed in and out the curve and coloring of his 
tiny claws the slope and scope of impressive whiskers 1 
And I think he had equally digested me. It was the most 
mutual time we had ever had. As for the chipmunk, he 
doubtless retired full of naturalistic sensations, and will 
discourse for the rest of his life on "Ogres Who Sit Still 
and Wink !" 

* * * 

April 28. 

I have been out, dancing around bareheaded in the soft 
rain, my oats were to have been sowed to-day, alack! 
and aren't to find out what bird it is that for a week 
has been asking, all around the house, in the orchard, the 
pear-trees, the plum-bushes with such preternatural 
sweetness "Are you ready, Ma-ry?" For if any swain 
addressed me in such tones, I know I should say "Yes, 
darling!" and run for my hat. The little remark is so 


utterly alluring courtesy, chivalry, and adoring gentle- 
ness, all mingled. 

I got my bird. He was perched on the tip of an apple- 
tree by the barn as lovely to see as to hear, the very 
Krishna of birds. Pale-yellow like a tassel on a spring 
willow ; and with a tilt of aspiration to his throat. In fact, 
all I could see of him, as he sat on the toppest twig, was 
goldenness and aspiration. . . . "Are you ready, Ma-ry ?" 
with a sweetness that pierced the heart. One felt like 
Leezie Lindsay of the ballad, when she found that "the 
lad I 'm gon wi' " was in truth a "chie-ieftain of hi-igh 

She has kilted her skirt of green satin [neat dear ! SO 

as to leap nimbly on his horse] 
She has kilted it up tae her knee; [hooray for her!] 
She's aff!!wi' Lord Ronald MacDonald, 
His bri-ide an' his darlin' tae be ! 

And I am not going to look up that primrose-colored 
voice of the spring in any book, and find what some person 
has named him, or what his eggs look like. Dear heaven 
Eggs? and that angel? He's my Mary-bird, and I 
know him. That is enough. 

As I look at the hills, and the tints of the spring woods, 
I think of a painter I once knew. I came across him 
on the high hill of a back street in a fishing-village, 
where one looked down on the lavender-hued lid of the 
old town; he was behind his easel, sketching. Roofs, 
mostly they cluttered charmingly together, with humps 
of trees interspersed. And he was so relieved because the 
color, just then, was what it should be. (Like Whistler, 
he felt that nature needed improving.) "In the spring, 


you see, you have purples to go with your greens." So 
he painted the spring. His colors were all arranged by 
a sort of clock ; he showed it to me. Hands pointed, auto- 
matically, to the ones that should go together . . . and so 
greens must have purples alongside. His clock said so! 

Painters all seem to have theories and superstitions 
about purple; it is the color of problems. One of them 
had his greatest satisfactions with twilight, "because then 
there is purple in everything" ; another must have a cer- 
tain purple in his skies; and so on. As for the art 
students on every street corner of the old town, their 
canvases were one purple yell. Only they preferred, say, 
vermilion to go with it. Green would have been too 
modest, too literal, for any "clocks" of theirs. ... Is 
there any green in Greenwich Village? . . . 

But the little painter was right about the hills. You 
do have "purples to go with your greens" or rather, 
greens, newly come, to consort with the purples you Ve 
beautifully had all winter ! But you would have to hurry ; 
those purples are being smothered fast some of them 
going red with blossom now. Maple-blossoms, mostly. 
Here and there the trunk of a white birch gleams from 
a smudge of true purple still; but the top of the average 
woodland is red, where it is n't every tint of pale yellow- 
green. Mingling with all this, the shad-blossom trees are 
a lovely note a fairy laciness against deepening color. 
Last year the road-makers cut down a beautiful one which 
made a poem of a bend in the road ; they were "cleanin' 
up the brush," they told me. Brush ! A delicate mass of 
fragrant, snowy, lavender-tinted bloom spattered on sky 
and hill. . . . 

So every day the greens are gaining. Alpha and Omega 


now cast noticeable fists of shade; everywhere the veil 
is creeping. Sweet days ! but I do wish those oats were 
in and the precious grass-seed with them, to underlie 
the oats. For I am veiling my plowed land, too. Hay is 
our great need. Hay, for five months of nibbling; hay, 
to trudge under all winter ! ... I do want one spring to 
myself. And, when we do not plow and plant each season, 
there will be less hurry and flustration. Nature will not 
get ahead of one so. For eight springs I have plotted to 
paint the poplars in Doone Valley; for eight springs I 
have not done it. There are always "things" that must 
be "seen to/'. . . There is no "must" like that of land. 

So grass-seed, in white, determined bags, is in the corn 
barn to arrange that I shall paint those poplars next 

I have not even seen them yet! ... I wander a great 
deal, but it is fence-wandering, or wood-selecting, or a 
trip to see if there is going to be enough fertilizer for 
the two-acre piece, etc., etc. And yet one does like walks 
with a purpose. Who knows but that another year I 
may be wearying for the clink of a plow, the shout at a 
rebellious team? . . . One likes, too, to be essentially 
connected with humankind. Perhaps that is why men 
become infatuated with business; coal, or brown sugar, 
can be a link ! And there is an especially warm related- 
ness about farming. . . . Sometimes in madly literary 
moments, when the step of the agricultural interrupter is 
heard on the back porch, I sigh for a garret, and ink, 
and nothing else; and then I shiver at the idea of such 

If one were not alone here, things would not bear on 
one so onerously. One needs corroboration in fanning! 



The lack of it is one of the great evils of solitude, . . 
If I merely know my Babs is here, I wake with the 
sunbeam on my pillow, but not the worries. . . . Daugh- 
ter 's in the opposite bedstead; all's well with the 
world. . . . 

After all, it was the fault of the delphiniums that Polly 
and I did not get over to the poplars the other afternoon. 
The old house is banked with straw during the winter, 
and the banking sits, of course, on certain of my per- 
ennials planted in the house borders. It is legendary 
to remove it some time in May, after danger of frost is 
gone, but, this spring being fabulously early, I was 
shocked to see, the other day, a struggling shoot of 
delphinium crooked distressfully at me, a beckoning 
finger, from under a board. Poor thing! I had supposed 
that plants thus buried would stay quiet "until called for" ; 
but apparently darkness cannot smother them when 
warmth calls, and, straw or no straw, that delphinium was 
going to get to the light. Columbines there were, too, 
and phlox; would they be also shooting, and getting 
tangled in straw? I ran for a wheelbarrow and a fork. 
That straw had been there since autumn, and was 
well trodden down; I thought I should never come to 
the bottom of it, which, when reached, was wet and odor- 
ous and unpleasant. The cinnamon roses had grown 
through it, too, and a slow, prickly time one had, picking 
out damp straws wreathed about thorny stems. The sight 
of frail white shoots piercing the sodden mass was not 
reassuring, either ; but wheelbarrow and I dug them out 
at last. I did not count the number of tottling trips we 
made to the barn-yard, with a tall fork stuck crowningly 
into the top of the load : "Ouvrage couronne par 1'Acade- 


mie Frangaise!" I murmured, grinning, as I pushed it, 
while it gestured threateningly in my face, up the grassy 
slope to the gate. It was hard pushing. To Cressy on 
the salt-rocks, this industry was pleasant entertainment; 
but Goliath, to whom, earlier, had been promised "a nice 
ride with Big Missis!" yawned dismally as he lay and 
watched, beating the ground with a conscious tail if I so 
much as glanced his way, or rising to make beseeching 
pretty-bows before the barrow. It always distresses him 
to see me gardening. Needlessly fretting the face of na- 
ture! Come and gallop over her instead, he begs; fleet 
lightly o'er th' unbending corn. . . . Don't hoe ! 

There was rose-color on the hills, however, before the 
last transparent shoot was liberated ; some of them broken 
by a too inquiring fork, but the greater part erect and 
surprised at light and air. The one-armed man kindly 
deserted his home-going harrow and removed the heavy 
boards and stakes ; and wheelbarrow and I gazed proudly 
on our neat beds. Light, ever mounting higher, struck 
through the illuminated top of Omega, in which a cheery 
robin sat, singing to the sunset, when a sudden pang shot 
through me. Doone Valley ! and those poplars ! Lemon- 
peel fragrance would soon be gone; the little twinkling 
hearts losing their first grace. I sat down on the grass 
and threw my arms about the collie's neck. "Too bad, old 
man!" And he licked my face, agreeing. 

But he collected, with venomous barks, a reluctant Polly 
from the paddock, and we fared down the hill and under 
such poplars as grow on the flat they cheered us by 
being unbelievably sweet, in the dusk and had a "mad, 
sad, bad" gallop for the mail. (Delicious because one 
is not supposed to gallop!) The collie rippled beside us; 


cool air cut through one's hair ; all the evening sweetness 
fluttered in one's face. . . . After all, our own front val- 
ley is pretty nice! though lacking the wildness and 
thrushes of over the hill. Our little brook sang loudly; 
ghostly white trilliums, or the pallor of yellow violets, 
shone through the dusk. From a tall spruce, a whitethroat 
sent his love-song trembling into the upper air, where stars 
and love-songs live; and one came home in a maze of 
poetry after all. It was warm on our hill ; the stars were 
very big; and a strong waft of bitter almond from the 
plum-bushes came down the darkening road to meet us. 

May 2. 

The fists of shadow on the terrace grow bigger every 
day. . . . Spring is going going! But in the silence of 
this one I have learned much. Never before have I really 
assimilated bird-song. (Having learned English birds 
when a child, I forget American birds as fast as I memo- 
rize them!) Never till one gray evening last week, when 
the world seemed cold and dreary, did I identify the robin 
as the Beethoven of birds. His cheeriness, his habit of 
singing when other choristers are abed, are of course 
familiar ; but the sweet reasonableness of that song, noble, 
true, and strong, had never appealed to me as it did while 
I stood listening, quite alone. 

I never knew, either, that budding leaves are scented 
like flowers: birch leaves like heliotrope; tiny maple- 
clusters delicious! Almost any blossomy spring odor 
could be laid to them. Doubtless beech and elm, and other 
tall ones you cannot reach, are just as delightful. . . * 

Early this morning I walked up the first knoll, osten- 


sibly to inspect a bunch of ponies who had tucked them- 
selves out of sight for a day ; but after a glance at their 
well-filled sides (the ponies weren't at all thrilled to see 
me!} long-stemmed violets seemed more important. 
They were so purple; and so gorgeous. They seemed to 
make up at least half the view ; and there were mountains, 
and spring valleys! . . . Also, the easterly breeze was 
made entirely of sweetbrier. There were bushes of sweet- 
brier over by the old wall; could their fragrance fly so 
far? I approached, sniffing so absorbed that I pre- 
sented a hand with violets in it, instead of the empty one, 
to Lassie's friendly nose, and she ate them at a gulp! I 
sat down, laughing, on the pleasant turf; and Lassie 
jumped back, staring at me with dilated eyes. One does 
not seat oneself in winter yards; she had never seen a 
folded Missis. With much coaxing, I drew her near, and 
soon had her investigating knees and puttees and boots. 
Then, with care, I got up. Her eyes grew large, but 
she bore it. It is something, to watch a long brown 
thing unfold and not run away. . , , She also bore, 
with intent ears, a brief kiss on the end of the nose. We 
don't consider them educated until they do. 

I looked at the pasture sod while I sat under Lassie's 
nose; every inch of it is precious. Except for the pies 
of everlasting. There, millions of vigorous, silver-green 
young shoots are preparing to agonize us in August 
with sheets of white . . . where green turf should be. 
I'll have them mowed, every one. "You'll never get 
rid of them things !" commented one of my fence boys, 
sagely, when I announced this program; but I shall try! 
Sheep exterminate them; why not a scythe? . . . All 
sheep use is teeth ! Dozens of little white scythes ! 



My jobs have grown absurdly light. The ponies are 
in pasture; Cressy is out; I have only two horses in the 
stable. I am lost without my usual involvements with 
hay. Even Kim "is gone; I palmed him off yesterday on 
an ardent young person with red cheeks and much cour- 
age, who had ridden his sister, Kindness, one winter, 
and was overjoyed, despite my warnings, to undertake 
this warlike brother. I described his methods unicorn, 
green fire, and all ; but Verona's eyes merely shone with 
anticipation. She is a good rider, and so I saddled the 
handsome devil (he showed off green fire wonderfully, 
as he came out of his stall!), and carded his silver tail, 
sending them off with my blessing and a few unprevent- 
able shivers. Kim went stepping down the hill with great 
decorum. Catching sight of Dolly in the paddock, he let 
out a valedictory roar, but deigned to proceed while I 
stood praying on a stone. Last year his joy was leaps ; 
three leaps, crescendo, and the unskilled rider flew, at a 
handsome parabolic curve, toward the ditch. ... So, 
holding my breath, I watched the nodding silver tail dis- 
appear into the woods. I watched it emerge upon the 
flats below and, trotting, swing the corner by the barns. 
. . . Then I fled! Unlucky, to watch things out of sight!' 

That evening came a young voice on the telephone. . . . 
Oh, no ! No trouble at all! ... "He went lovely. He 's 
in the yard now, eatin' grass. Oh, yes ; I like him awful. 
He 's a lovely rider !" And so on, for minutes of rapture. 
With a sigh of thankfulness I hung up the receiver. 
Good-by, dear, dreadful Kimmie ! In a month you will 
return, exercised and strong; meanwhile, the farm will 
take its annual rest from roars. . . . 



Ocean Wave is going soon. Two pleasant people trav- 
ersed the pasture and stood enraptured, by the maple- 
grove, at the sudden sight. All the pretty darlings on 
a bright green hillside, above hollows blue with violets, 
blue mountains trimming the view. Far below was the 
farm-house in its patch of sunny emerald, with a plume 
of white smoke floating. . . . And Shetlands show off 
beautifully in pasture. Irritations have vanished ; scarcely 
anybody kicks anybody else. Elizabeth was never more 
charming her baby manners beyond reproach; the visi- 
tors cuddled her fuzziness, and yearned to put her in 
the car and drive off with her. But they needed a ma- 
ture performer; and their eyes roamed over the herd. 
I related the Odyssey of Ocean: how she had traveled 
nearly three hundred miles with us, carrying a sixty- 
pound pack, coming up cheerful every morning, and wish- 
ing to out-trot the horses ; how we had to lead her with 
bit and bridle instead of a halter, or she would have 
wound round us, all day, out of sheer ambition; how 
she had faced a steam-ferry unmoved, had drunk out 
of Lake George and Lake Champlain and Schroon Lake 
and Schroon River, and knew the windings of the Iroquois 
Trail as well as the heartlessness of miles of Tarvia at 
a stretch in short, how there never was such a pony 
as Ocean. It will be hard to let her go. ... Of course 
she will have grooms and grain and blanketing and a loose- 
box and all the luxuries, but she will be wistfully think- 
ing, I know, of her mountain pasture of the tiny, sweet- 
tasting flowers, dew on the grass, a leafy bed, the flare of 
red sunrise through the woods. . . . Hard, to have the 
soul of a gipsy and yet do one's orderly little Shetland 



duty every day; but she will. I know Ocean's stout 

But it wrings mine to think of it. 

May 3. 

I am very magnificent. I have spread myself all over 
the house. No longer would it be possible to broil a 
chop over the dining-room fire; I must walk into the 
kitchen and have the range in perfect order. . . . Why 
this change? I do my hair in front of a mirror instead 
of while strolling around, staring out of windows; I 
prink when I go out. I spend lordly evenings in a thirty- 
foot living-room I shouldn't mind if it were forty! 
before a huge fire of logs. I am even thinking of changing 
my night habitation into the guest-room looking out on 
the cool tops of a western orchard, in order that I may 
be slothful o' mornings and elude the advances of my 
heretofore-friend, the sunbeam. . . . Why this reaction 
into luxury? Leonard Merrick, in his quiet way, men- 
tions that insidious season wherein even "the tenant's 
fancy lightly turns to coats of paint" ; is it that that ails 
me me, a parent, a contented chaperon of beasts ? For, 
though aware of no cause, I cannot but notice the effect ! 
The other day I read about a butler in some great house ; 
immediately I was consumed by the swift longing : "How 
I wish I had a butler!" 

Yes, I can wish it now! In cold blood. A stately 
butler, who would know how to bow, to usher in the 
guest, to pass the English muffin. ... It would soothe 
one's very soul ! a soul usually revolted by formality and 
butlers. . . . 



There must be something very bad the matter. 

Because nature is becoming attired and beautiful, must 
one wish life to be attired, also? Is the ceremony of 
the arrival of pink buds in an orchard a signal for a 
like burgeoning in one's spirit? Is all one's preference 
for "the flint and gravel of existence 1 ' to be upset by the 
sight of a pear-tree in bloom? 

And pear-trees are not yet in bloom ! They are waiting. 
The world is waiting. It will be far more beautiful soon, 
Just now it has become all one color. A single plum- 
tree, though the hedge-blossoms have dropped to a pink 
fuzz, is still like snow against the vivid grass, and I see 
a rosiness gaining on the slow, gray-green foliage of the 
old apple-trees; otherwise the world is one vast undula- 
tion of pale, lacy yellow-green, the entr'acte in this drama 
of spring color. 

Birds seem to be waiting, too. They sing very Kttle. 
A piping here, a lone, warble there ; somewhere, perhaps, 
a phoebe or a chitter of fighting song-sparrows. The 
woodpeckers cry "Peenk!" no more; my bluebird is quiet 
on his twig. Can it be that "the time of the singing of 
birds" is past? When one was just waking up to it? 

I must sleep in my sunbeam. I must get up most 
frightfully early and hear them. For they sing early, 
even in June and July. And I can't give up that thick 
singing yet ; I don't want solitary piping ; one needs, de- 
serves, it thick, after the winter. . . . Just as one likes 
sheets and masses of flowers. "Thick enough to paint," I 
cried once, in joy of a riot of rosy petunias against a 
sea-wall, and everybody hooted. People are such asses. 
You have to have flowers thick, to paint them a ragout 
of color; but who thinks about that? . . . And so I 



want song thick that welter of it that comes in the dawn 
with the spread of red behind the trees ; a low, dull red, 
but the woods a-leap with melody. 

I am going out to hear it leap. How stupid to molder 
in a bed, with a few inches of air scraping in under a 
sash, or, if you J re very bold, a couple of sashes with all 
that divinity wasting just over the hill ! I will go out in 
slippers in the dew. ... I have felt the dew on my bare 
ankles a cool splashing, very delicate. Nature is al- 
ways delicate at dawn. There will be cobwebs on the 
grass, shadowiness, a big star somewhere ; then the green- 
wood will swallow me, drown me in wet leaf smells, bear 
me up on a swell of song. . . . 

I hope that by to-morrow I shall have got over this 
feeling about butlers. If I go out and listen to the birds, 
I shall. Fancy a butler in the woods ! "There ain't no 
such animal I" . . . In socialistic mood, one feels it might 
be better if there never had been; and yet one can't im- 
agine England without or even English literature: 
Thackeray, bereft of beloved Chawles and Jeames ! Un- 
familiar as butlers are in most people's lives, yet how they 
are knit up with our traditions. We should n't, mentally, 
know what to do without them ; "they linger in that in- 
ward eye !" Even the movies would be unhappy without 
them, and ivied castle walls flavorless for hoi polloi love 
to look at liveries, and butlers are an indispensable corol- 
lary of charming daughters in riding-clothes. They can't 
ride, the daughters, but so long as they and their curly 
hair, the velvet and linen clothes, and the stately butler, 
are there, the story is assured. 

So perhaps my ailment is not so awful as I feared. But 


I still can't cook in the dining-room, or live, as I have, 
around one red coal, with one outlook, one flower on the 
table, and one cat and dog. ... I am certainly, like the 
orchard, bursting into something! 

Yesterday, a book of verses helped. I had been to the 
village for the usual cargo, essays, a Western story, a 
novel or two of civilization, and a little volume of new 
poetry, arriving home weary; the drive had been long 
and gray. Shadows had crept over the hills; a drop of 
rain fell. As I came out of the barn, there above the 
shadow lay a slice of brilliant sunshine across the tops 
of the hills uncommonly bright, because of a heavy belt 
of cloud just above. Against the clouds was a rainbow, 
dipping down into a wooded valley the valley where I 
had seen a girl fishing, as I drove along. The beautiful, pris- 
matic colors were laid brightly against the woodland; if 
one could go on a mad gallop down there (I told myself), 
one would see that girl fishing in the rainbow ! For it went 
down right there ! One could poke a finger into it ! Over 
the tops of some poplars I know, across a familiar clear- 
ing where they got their wood in winter, over a belt of 
young hemlock, down, down, into the brook, went the 
colors. (I just could n't see the brook.) I should like to 
see a brook bottom illuminated. I wondered how the trout 
would like it. I thought how thrice golden those cowslips 
must look in it, that I had seen blossoming along the bank. 
A girl fishing a girl bareheaded, in a blue gown, would 
look nice, too, in a rainbow. ... I had the greatest mind 
to saddle ^olly ! But she was all nicely put to bed for the 
night ; so I watched that arch above the illuminated woods. 
An uplifting sight! Shadowy emerald, shadowy plum- 



blossoms, shadowed hills; the burst of light through a 
sullen sky and the bow. 

I went thoughtfully into the house to my books. I 
always read the Western story first; but, after a few 
chapters in this one, I shut it up in disgust. It was all 
villains and bad grammar. One hears so much unfastid- 
ious talk up here that to meet it in a book and after that 
rainbow was too much. It rasped. "The White Com- 
rade" caught my eye. Ah ! here was speech that fitted on 
to the rainbow ; hungrily I read the little volume through. 
It almost made one remember one had a soul. . . . This 
month, I am sure, I have had none. I have not even 
thought of it. Spring's work and ponies and garden and 
fence ; seed-oats, harrows, sweet peas ; three meals a day, 
one's writing clamoring, and shall I exercise Polly or 
Dolly this afternoon? not to mention one's spring bills 
coming in a lump instead of spreading themselves over 
months, as they should . . . where should one find, out of 
all this, a soul? 

But I fished it out and read verses to it, while it sat up 
and took breaths. I read "The Day of a Thousand 
Deaths." Coming to the lines where Calamity proudly 

". . . I am not Worry, the cur whose bark 
Slays fools in the dark" 

I pressed the page to my lips with a sudden smile. Curs, 
yes! those worries sliding basely in on a sunbeam. (One 
just needed to know they were curs!) Strange, that 
there should be redemption in mere words., but I see tails 
flying, now ! Never more, comrade, will I be slain by that 



May 4. 

A little wild apple-tree has bloomed in the back pasture. 
Polly and I rode at it out of a poplar island last evening, 
and for a moment halted, breathing the surprise of its 
sweetness. There was sunset behind the blue mountains, 
lonely notes from birds, peace everywhere. But Polly 
began to fidget, and so I leaned over and plucked sprays 
of the rosy flowers, and rode on home through the dusky 
woods. By candle-light, they leaned entrancingly from 
their copper pot. The room was filled with their fra- 
grance; I could not read for looking at them. . . . But 
what had they to look at? I suddenly thought. I had 
taken them from sunsets and evening peace. . . . Un- 
consciously, I straightened up and made a smile for 
them. . . . 

For wild apple-blossoms have something dewy about 
them, something of the spirit. There is a wateriness about 
their petals ; they grow in poetic streels and trails, not in 
stodgy clumps like their cousins of the orchards, which, 
for all their intention of beauty, we have made practical. 
They mean barrels in the autumn, and they know it. 
There is no such consciousness about a wild tree in bloom. 
A shy look it has, an air of white muslin and virginity. 
No one is making calculations about it. The bees besiege 
it; but only wild birds and chipmunks will be the richer 
for its ripened fruit. An adventurous cow, perhaps, may 
taste the acid of its green balls, which it drops, gener- 
ously ; but on the whole it is as refreshingly unproductive 
as a dune. ... So I glanced uneasily about my room, to 
see if it was doing my wild guests justice. It was not. 
It failed to suggest either sunset or mountains ; there was 



no dew falling, nor any thrill about the air. Candle-flames 
might do for stars but no; I should have left them out 

in the sweet night. 

# * # 


After all my and Thalma's pains, Elizabeth apparently 
is not weaned at all ! She had had six weeks to forget in 
an ample interval ; so I marched Thalma into the yard. 
Elizabeth was illustrating a battle-field, as usual on a 
warm morning, lying out flat with a very round stomach 
to the sky, and Thalma stalked unnoticing to the trough. 
She had a kicking-match with Beauty and Fascination, 
just as a refreshing little welcome back to the herd ; then 
I rooted up Elizabeth with my toe. "Come see who's 

She lifted her little head, blinking fast: "Where am I?" 
Then two small fore legs shot out ; she hopped up, gave a 
swift stretch, and looked alertly about her. 

At once she saw the shabby black form over by the 
rocks. She cocked up her head. "Hu-uh?" she began, 
questioningly ; then, with a sudden shout, "Hoo-000/" 
bounded ecstatically to her mother's side. Thalma swung 
round. With shining eyes they exchanged neck-bites, a 
long, long neck-bite, while I looked on, complacent. . . . 
It was as I had hoped. They were the best of friends, but 
nothing more; and just then, with the sure aim of long 
practice, the young lady dived her nose downward. . . . 

"Oh, dear!" I wailed, running up, "don't, Elizabeth!" 
and tried to pry her away. She clung like a limpet. 

"Elizabeth!" I protested, and finally detached her. 
"Now run along, and don't be a silly." At which she 
eyed me in amazement and stepped round to the other 



side ! . . . Six weeks, since Thalma had been "milked" ; a 
cow's milk, by this time, would be frightfully bad. This 
might give Elizabeth colic, or some awful thing. . . . 
Bending over, I anxiously milked, with thumb and finger, 
on the side nearest me, that soot-black, shiny little teat, 
when, to my astonishment, a fragrant stream flew forth 
white, thin, good as new ! Elizabeth, on her side, steadily 
imbibed. I stood back marveling. Six weeks ! It must 
be the force of sheer affection which had kept that milk 
fresh so long ; Thalma was evidently equipped with some 
marvel of maternal mechanism whereby she could be 
Elizabeth's mother till the end of time. . . . Nature 
surely willed it ; I would interfere no more. 

Gli and I have had such a nice little dark walk for the 
cream. I went to get Polly, but she was still munching 
supper; so I said, "Old man, we '11 walk." 

It was late twilight as we started down the mowing 
road, and Goliath kept rushing back to me, panting. "Are 
you really going to walk, Missis ?" Finally convinced, he 
dashed off to his woodchuck hole in the hollow. (He has 
a regular round of these ; we see him starting off with a 
certain jolly air that belongs to woodchucks only, and say, 
"Ah! Doctor Gli going to visit his dear patients!") 

Dark was coming fast, the stars brightening every mo- 
ment ; and, at the wooded corner where the frog pond is, 
their full chorus smote us. "Tweety-tooty ! Tweety- 
tooty-tweety-tweety-tooty-tweety-tooty! . , ." It TOS 
dreadful ! Footsteps usually silence f irogs ; but, though I 
caught the ghostly shine of the pond down through the 
little birches, and almost fancied, so keen were the sounds 
in my ear, that I could see small mouths wagging beside 
tussocks of grass, the chorus swelled rather than lessened-. 



I tried a rival whistle. How feeble, how thick, it sounded, 
beside this piercing, knife-blade clearness! I whistled 
louder and longer Siegfried's "Bird." Nothing hap- 
pened, except that one felt foolish. I shouted, a medieval 
"Ho, there !" But, unabashed in their safe pond, Tweety- 
tooty and Co. kept on, shriller than ever. . . . Determined 
minstrels! So Goliath and I (Goliath had been worrying, 
and kissing my hand, all during my vain performances) 
hastened on, thankful that the pond was not on our land. 
The little road undulated out into the starlight again. 
It is bordered with wild cherry-bushes, which were in 
blossom. I could see the white blooms quite clearly, hung 
on the darkness like bits of light. A very big star was 
right overhead, blinking into the lane. As we climbed a 
grassy hill, the dark bowl of the valley fell below us. A 
few lights shone in it. Above the rim of mountains the 
sky was bright, and steely-clear hardly a night sky, yet 
popping with stars. 

It began to seem rather a long way to the cream. I am 
not used to my own feet; and Polly's are so agile. . . . 
The dark shape of the farm-house stood below us, look- 
ing very uncommunicative. I wondered if they were all 
away. That would mean a trip before breakfast. . . . 
Sunday morning, too. Ha ! a dim light in the kitchen ; I 
mounted the porch. The shades were tight down ; a scut- 
tering of bare feet was heard. Bath night ! and, hesitat- 
ing a moment, I gently rapped. More flying feet; silence. 
Then the hasty steps of Mother, who opened the door, 
smiling. A very pink little face under pinned-up curls, 
and above a clean flannel nightie, peeped whimsically from 
the pantry door. 

"She 's just through!" laughed Mother. "I told her to 


run in there"; and my little friend came dancing out, 
holding up her long gown. The men-folks were gone to 
the store. Behind a proudly borne lamp we all trooped 
into the parlor to see the newly whitened ceiling a fresh- 
smelling job, clean as new milk. The hall and kitchen 
ceilings had been done, too. I peered, in envy. Lucile, 
just out of a hot tub, sneezed the cunningest little 

"Go to bed, bad child !" I commanded. She shook her 

"Nope !" said she, and hopped gaily about the room. 

'My cream being bottled, and the bottle religiously 
wiped, the lamp saw me to the door. "It's good you 
ain't timid," murmured Ma, glancing out into the night. 
It looked, of course, pitch-black. Assuring her of its 
dazzling brightness once you were out in it, we departed 
briskly up the hill. The sky was even more luminous 
than before. Goliath trotted ahead of me as good a 
mud-puddle as one could wish ; the exact tint of a long, 
slim puddle in the wheel-track. (One would have turned 
out so as not to splash in him!) But the puddle trotted 
companionably along; I was glad it was a movable one, 
to come up and kiss one's hand occasionally. ... As we 
again reached the bit of black woods and hurried by the 
shouting frogs, we came into clear starlight. Across the 
little valley, black orchards snuggled the farm-house, with 
here a roof-line, here a chimney, struck out upon the 
stars ; and the dear scent of home came to us. No light 
in any window; but the plum- and cherry-trees shone at 
us as we passed. In a rill of the little brook (an inch- 
wide rill) sat a whole star, looking up at us! It was 
beautiful, gleaming there. Grasses grew about it; the 



dark edge of the rill was its frame : a whole star, shining 
humbly at one's feet. . , . 

Plump the cream in running spring-water; light the 
lamp so that it shines on the good colors of books 

One remembered dodging cars and trucks on a similar 
errand in town. Up here one is wrapped in the "joy of 
mere living." One needs little of Browning's "rending 
the bough from the fir tree," I can't rend, with a frontis- 
piece or of indulging, unless one wishes, in "cool silver 
shocks." The mere calm pursuit of bread and butter, 
glorified by stretches of leisure, is sufficient; charms fall 
before one, like my plum-blossoms in a strong wind ! 

But I had more than a cool silver shock yesterday when 
I discovered I had not seen Kindness for three days. 
Bunches of ponies had been in the yard, other bunches on 
the hillside, but no Kindness. Fright seized me. She is a 
great climber; I thought of our new wire, just right for 
trapping adventurous legs. We had had horses in wire, 
and Cressy; was this a pony's turn? . . . The glorious 
morning went suddenly black ; I snatched a bit of break- 
fast, flung on an impatient saddle, and was oft . . . . It 's 
funny, how fond you get of anything you think you 've 
lost ! In a flash, it came to me how irreplaceable Kindness 
is. We had so meant to mate her in true mythological 
style with her half-brother Kim, and have a peerless, 
long-legged, sweet-dispositioned colt! 

The ponies were, kindly, in sight. I rode through them, 
counting hastily, and totally disregarding Polly's hints as 
to stopping and looking at this one or that. ("Nice fat 
pony, Missis!" she remarks, halting; "hadn't you better 
get off and look at him?") With a dig of my heel I sent 



a grieved Polly flying up the hill. This was no trip of 
admirations! . . . We vainly searched the high knoll; 
then I dismounted and tramped down it, lugging an 
indignant horse. Mounting, I trotted swiftly along the 
fence woven wire, here ; my heart shrank whenever we 
swung a corner. No Kindness ! . . . Down through the 
glamorous woods, out into the lower pasture, under wild 
apple-trees in bloom, across the brook, down by the spring 
. , . the lump in one's throat gripping worse. . . Our 
fence was mended that was the tragedy; not even our 
worst ponies had been out. . . . Something must have 

Along an old lumber road, now; saplings smothered it 
a bath of silken green ! Green wash-cloths wiped one's 
face. Polly plunged a little; I crouched blindly on her 
neck. At last we were in a clearing, and I battled up the 
cliff trail on foot. Plenty of wire here : cattle had had a 
runway through. Under a hemlock a prostrate blackness 
gave me a shock; but it was a stump, not a hurt pony. . . . 
Panting, I labored on up the- steep, wet trail clear up, to 
the bright emptiness of the high knoll ; stared about with a 
heavy heart; went crashing down. Polly, listening,. was 
in a fright when I came out to her, but whinnerecj, at sight 
of me. Meeting her friendly eyes, I hid my face in her 
mane. "Can't find her, Pip. . . . Oh, I wish Babs was 
here I" Yes, this was Worry. Curs had me now. There 
was no shaking them off. Visions of Kindness in every 
state of woe and misery stalked before me ; I set my teeth 
and plunged down the hill. Gli, with a tail of tragedy, 
followed sadly at my heels. Down and down, through 
snow-white birches mottled with sunshine. Not a living 
thing in sight. 



I turned Polly along the old road again. From far up 
the valley came a noon whistle ; we would eat, then begin 
the round of the neighbors. I felt a bit serener, now I 
knew, absolutely, she was n't in a fence. After dinner we 
trotted out the cherry lane. ". . . Just look into Morton's 
pasture," I muttered; I had scanned it a hundred times 
that morning. Cows, yes, oxen with fence-jumpers on 
a pair of big colts and Something beside them ! Some- 
thing not a cow I loosed the rein ; there was a rippling 
under me . . . cowslips shone at us ; and Polly, with ears 
set forward, dashed into my neighbor's yard. 

"Yas 'm, she 's over thar with my colts. . . . She come 
through while we was fixin' our fence. . , . 'Ben here 
near a week,. . t . Was thinkin' I 'd tell ye she was here, 
but she ain't bothered me none. . . ." 

Never was such golden sunlight! How exquisite the 
light on those bare hillsides as I let down the pasture bars. 
. . . Sweetbrier fragrance escorted us. Riding away, a 
black head bobbing beside my knee, I felt I could never 
worry again. The wild apple-trees were one shout of 
joy ; and Kindness had eager ears for her home. 

* * * 


A wonderful morning. Radishes and lettuce are up ; I 
arrived at the barn in three leaps, and came back in one ! 
A book for breakfast but not Leonard Merrick; a new 
volume of his lies on the table, but, much as I prize him, 
he is not the stuff that breakfasts are made of. Or should 
be made of! The merest touch of lassitude, a hint of 
cynicism, one hardly knows they are there, but some- 
how the sparkle is off the day ; the world seems older. In 



the evening these aspects appear, in some odd way, fam- 
iliar; one takes them more tolerantly; but they go vilely 
with a morning mood. . . . And this morning went all in 
leaps. I even leaped up-stairs for a book so violently that 
Goliath, who is not used to literary dashes, thought surely 
some treasured animal must be dying and tumbled after 
me so fast he fell over his own legs. Then he stood and 
surveyed me, panting, with farm worry in his eyes, so 
that I had to take a minute to pat and reassure him; then 
sat down causelessly grinning, at my desk. 

It was preparing to be beautiful, I could see last eve- 
ning. The moon had a pearly look; under it even the 
barn-yard was lovely and slept, all silver and black, with 
bright glitters on the watering-trough. The ponies were 
most sentimental. A few of them had not gone to the 
woods but were standing about, with angel faces. Kick 
each other? Never heard of such a thing. So sweet! 
The moonlight made the tops of their manes sparkle; 
their eyes were soft and dark, their white patches pure 
silver. Fantana, standing quietly by the salt-rocks, with 
her long, waving, silver mane and a rapt expression, was 
a poem; not a bitter ear did she exhibit ; not once did she 
back upon the others Fantana, who loathes her dear com- 
panions ! 

The horses, too, in the paddock swamp, forgot their 
dewy suppers and stared at me with unworldly affection. 
They came to the bars and stood there, with their four 
heads together sentiment unutterable ! Their necks were 
sheeny, like pale-blue satin; they leaned gently over the 
bars, sniffing me with soft nostrils, while their eyes 
gleamed in the moonlight. My Polly's white star shone 
peacefully. Even when Dolly stumbled against her she 



did not frown; and, as I left them, Boo-boo, who had 
followed me, prostrated himself every instant before my 
feet Such a moonlit white stomach! Indeed, a loving 
pilgrimage ; and I was merely out to see the moon ! 

Dolly, having shed her "winter garment of repentance," 
is now clad in the "fire of spring" ; once more shiny and 
beautiful. I have teen letting her "out around" in the 
mowings ; when I go to the barn door and shout "Dolly- 
Dolly-Dolly !" I hear a thunder of hoofs, and round the 
corner at full gallop she comes, tail out, nose high and to 
one side just like Mr. Seton's Pacing Mustang racing 
across the desert. Lovely, when you call an animal, to 
have it come at you full tilt! But the secret of this beau- 
tiful suddenness is that when she dawdles I send Goliath 
after her, and Dolly loathes being barked at; she halts be- 
side me with wild snorts, staring back over her shoulder 
in horror. 

"'Tis not death with thee I fear- 
Only life with one behind!" 

and she rolls a terrified eye for That Dog. 

I have been having lovely long days of late. My alarm- 
clock is working. At six every morning it begins to walk 
round my neighbor's pasture and bawl. ... A lone cow ! 
expecting a herd to join her, which it does at seven thirty 
exactly. Until then she laments. A raucous and doleful 
voice, she has; it fills the valley, then bats round among 
the hills. At first I used to say "Oh !" after each bawl ; or, 
"Oh, you superfluous beast!" Now I simply get up. 
There is no hope of its stopping. All winter long, this 
animal, purchased from a herd by my neighbor, has bel- 
lowed in her stable, refusing to reconcile herself to soH- 



tude. Even the sweet-tempered house-mother complained 
the first note of repining I ever heard from that sunny- 
hearted person. 

"Bring her up here," I suggested, "and we'll bellow 
in company. I don't like being alone, either 1" 

Such a contrast to my dignified Cressy. Cressy esteems 
companionship ; but she takes herself up the knoll to feed, 
then saunters down for a drink, and a bit of human 
society but never a sound from her. She is especially 
confiding, these days, seeming to- know she is coming near 
the time of dependence on human ministrations. . . . 
Sometimes she needs them, for other reasons. The other 
evening, seeing lovely swirls of pink over the knoll, I 
thought I would climb it, and round the corner of the lane 
I came upon a sad sight my poor Cressy, stuck fast in 
the fence. She had poked her head through a square of 
the woven wire ; by the hoof-marks and other signs, I saw 
she had been there for hours. Grasping one horn, I tried 
to curve her head back out again. 

"You got it in, Cressy," I muttered, striving. "Why 
can't I get it out?" 

But wire was stiff, horns obstinate, and between them 
fingers were pinched grievously! I gave it up. 

"Wait a minute, old dear !" I shouted, pelting down the 
lane, "I '11 get something. Missis fix Cressy; yes !" For 
she was staring after me with anguished eyes. "Missis 
coming!" I called, racing furiously from the barn with 
the wire-cutters. It is hard to race and yell at the same 
time; but she had already pulled down a post with her 
wrestles, and I was afraid she would struggle again and 
get still more tangled. She greeted me with a glad little 
"Mm-m!" as I stopped, panting, beside her. Cl-l-ippf 



and out she wrenched her poor head all sawed raw be- 
hind the ears. 

"Get along out of here hoy !" I remarked sternly, now 
the worry was over. "Beat it along, h'sh-ha ! and don't 
look at plum-bushes again !" Cressy departed. I set up 
the post. 

My sunset was nearly gone ; but the "nearly" of a sun- 
set means beautiful burnings along the hills. The hills 
were violet; the clear sky green; the valleys were 
smoothed with dusk. And after the flurry I heaved a 
sigh of extra-peaceful peace. 

* * * 

May 10. 

To-day is an exquisite one of piled-up, tinted clouds. 
Also the terrace has had its first mowing. That, on most 
terraces, would not be much of an event, but it takes a 
psychologist to do ours. The dear thing is all undula- 
tions: small, mossy humps, swellings leading up to flower- 
beds, or interstices between the rose-bushes ; sunken spots ; 
nameless, ancestral elevations edged with sunken stones; 
in fact, a succession of subtleties. And the mowing- 
machine, knowing those humps since last season, is remi- 
niscently dull. One takes little runs at things, then runs 
at them again; goes scoopy-fashion up small banks; 
makes short but intense charges at grass in the crevices of 
the flat wall top (being careful not to nip the shoots of 
tiger-lilies) also at weeds that assemble under the wild 
grape-vine ; last of all, with heed not to touch the peren- 
nials, one rears the mower on one wheel and steers it 
breathlessly along the raised edge of the flower borders, 



. . . Combat all the time. That is why I like doing it 
I suppose. . . . Once shaven, the undulations really look 
nice. The curving line of the cinnamon rose jungle 
stands out clearly, a clear line is always a pleasure, 
and, though my pansy-bed is as yet only well-raked earth 
(it being early for plants), its fresh brown circle is not 

Frontispiece murmurs to-night. Mowing is not only 
strenuous but cumulative. You think you '11 only just do 
one little bit ; and you end with the whole thing. Beguiled 
by the finished charm of the upper terrace, I did the lower 
one, which was nearly long-haired enough for hay! 
and the side lawn, and the driveway, and the borders ; I 
slew at least a thousand baby maples, children of Alpha 
and Omega, whose small, tawny heads had been annoying 
me for a week (one does n't want a maple forest on one's 
lawn ! it 's bad enough to have one spreading in the pas- 
ture) ; also an incipient grove of plantains, whose leaves 
greedily overtopped the young grass. 

And then I was interrupted. A person in a car came to 
carry off some of our pasture sweetbrier-bushes for his 
city garden. Leaving his wife and daughter comfortably 
in the car, to be entertained by scenery, our view is a 
sort of secondary hostess 1 the gentleman and I departed. 
He had grain-bags and newspapers under his arm, and we 
acquired a sharp-pointed shovel from the corn barn. He 
was a nice, nervous, courteous little man and stepped 
beside me with alacrity; he became enthusiastic about 
violets in the lane I wished he could have seen the riot of 
them by the woods! and talked animatedly about his 
garden. He takes it presents from everywhere. 



But I wondered at his methods. Coming to a thick 
clump of sweetbrier, I turned him loose in it : "Take any- 
thing you want !" 

His eyes shone. He planted the toe of the shovel in 
the turf, and heaved. Pasture sod is tough. Looking a 
trifle nonplussed, he selected another vantage-point and 
fell upon it with zeal. "Ha ! struck a root that time I" he 
muttered ; and fell to digging with both hands. There was 
much of the terrier in that technique, I reflected. Dirt 
flew. "I've got it!" he cried, and came up with a bare 
root gripped in both hands. 

"Oh !" I murmured, "you want some earth with it, don't 

"Thank you I" he said submissively. "Yes, I do. ... 
Will that be enough? About so, do you think?" . . . 

I rose to help him secure the treasure ; and we tramped 
toward another clump behind the maple-grove. Elizabeth 
was grazing here, and delayed us, for the city person 
proceeded to fall direly in love with her. "That lit-tle 
Shetland baby !" he raptly murmured ; and I had to point 
out the clump of rose-bushes ahead, to lure him on. The 
sky got him a little later ; he stood transfixed, with cloud- 
shadows and mountains. "We don't get this from the 
hotel," he complained. "And when we first motor out of 
town, the sky the air it 's like getting out of a out of 
a jail!" 

Poor man ; my heart wanned to him. I know how it 
feels to get out of town. 

His battles with this thicket were even more fervent; 
he dug as if life depended on it, punching furiously at 
everlasting plants that would twine about his selected 
roots. I told him it did me good to see somebody besides 



myself wrestling with everlasting. And he flashed me a 
nervous smile. 

"How can I ever get rid of it?" I asked him, gazing 
despondently round at the reviving pies ; I was seated on 
one of them. 

"I don't know," he said shortly. Evidently the problem 
did not interest him. Something suddenly cooled within 

"Oh, very well, little man!" I thought; "go on and take 

my sweetbriers, though " and then I was ashamed. I 

wandered off to pick violets. 

Human society being irresistible to her genial soul, 
Cressy soon became a spectator of our labors, blowing 
amiably, and desirous of tasting the gentleman's sleeve. 
He was amused at that, and made flighty gestures in the 
direction of her outstretched nose. As I was sitting down 
on my comfortable pie, an outcry startled me. "Oh! my 
bag!" It was wiggling in the cow's mouth ! I detached it. 

"No, Cressy!" 

"Wh-oo!" she breathed, and seized a strong young 
thistle instead, blinking a little, then munching it down 
with gusto. The visitor gurgled with delight at this ex- 
ploit. He was really a nice, sporty little man, I thought 
decent of him, to forgive her for chewing his bag ; and we 
started down the hill, collecting as we went Cressy, of 
course, accompanying us, and frolicking thunderously 

He had not the least idea where his sweetbriers were, 
and with fixed eye was steaming by a deposit of them 
when I mentioned their existence. He stooped to acquire 
them. His methods were passionate. "Ouch!" he ejacu- 
lated, sucking a thumb. It is not well to hurry a brier ! 



Finally we reached the wall and settled down to pack. I 
held open the mouth of a bag, and a fervid jamming 
began. So intense was he that little, mute grunts, of 
which he was quite unconscious, escaped him as he 

"Gently!" I warned; "sl-o-ow! Go easy, please! 
Whoa!" And then blushed to find myself using horse 
language. . . . But indeed all one's best colt-handling tac- 
tics were needed. 

At last the roots were all in. We hastened down the 
lane, the thorny shoots of the bundle waving about and 
menacing my companion's head. He pawed at them but 
sped fervently along. I mentioned the sky; he gazed 
docilely upward, stubbed his toe, but grew calmer. Violets 
enchained him ; he smiled, and, as I put the shovel in the 
corn barn, thanked me beautifully. "For these, for giv- 
ing me your time, for the great pleasure it has been!" 
Had it? I was truly glad : but to take one's pleasure so 
hard ! It would tire me out in a day. 

* * * 

May 15. 

This life is so animating. To glance up out of your 
kitchen window, where you are somewhat vacantly peel- 
ing a banana, and perceive that far up on the pasture 
knoll, against the sky, your neighbor's ox whom you 
know a mile away, he is so big is digging his wooden 
"poke" into the brush fence and trying to demolish it 
would broaden, it seems, the horizon of any banana. It 
made mine very gay. We giggled together at the efforts 
of the clumsy beast to step over his dangling bib, we 
jeered when it got caught in a rail, we rejoiced when he 



gave up and turned, with an angry shake of the head, 
away. Our appetite was much improved by his exertions. 

I should hate a kitchen window where I could n't watch 
beasts a mile away ! . . . 

Boo-boo is getting perfectly absurd over his food. He 
wants everything boiling hot. While Cressy is "dry," I 
have been giving him canned milk with water from the 
tea-kettle in it. Watching the kettle waving around over 
his head, he apparently thinks it produces his whole meal, 
for now, unless I wave tea-kettle over other things I offer 
him, he won't touch them, and walks off, twitching his 
stub ! . . . Such a silly cat and yet it all comes from his 
excessive brains. Most pussies would n't connect things 
so. But boiling water on bread and gravy ; boiling water 
on potato. Ugh ! . . . 

We are expecting that calf every day, Cressy and L 
She is "bagging up" terrifically. Unless my Babs 
(Cressy's rightful owner) comes home in time, I shall 
soon be milking about thirty quarts a day, by the looks. 
As she is out on green grass, and has been for weeks, it 
ought to be a superior calf. I do look forward to one. 
There has n't been a calf on the farm since the momentous 
six we raised in war-time, Cressy having had hers in 
winter, on some one else's farm. But they were bull 
calves. I want a heifer this time. Badly ! 
* * * 

May 18. 

In search of one small pony, whom I desired to ensnare 
in harness, Polly and I had a simple-minded trip through 
all our woods. He was an elusive pony, not to be found 
in the open pasture, and so down the trails I rode ; down 



the wet, trickling, poplary way to the spring. Donny was 
there, very surprised to see us, and Pud and Kindness 
and Beauty and Elizabeth and everybody I usually want 
but did n't to-day, but no Sir Dignity. So up a steep bank 
we scrabbled, trying not to step on the wild strawberry- 
blossoms (for this is where our jam and shortcakes come 
from!) ; then back into the woods. How different from 
a week ago ! No flowers : not a petal, where sheets of 
them were ; and but little bird-song. A kind wood-thrush 
was still saying *'O Heliopolis !" over and over again a 
fragment probably left from his early-morning soliloquy; 
but leaf-flutterings were about one's head, and, as we 
plunged into the dark sea-green of a hemlock, partridge- 
thunder made us both jump, and I watched the flight of 
the brown creatures through the woods. 

Still searching, treading on violets this time! we 
climbed the knoll, were prostrated by navy-blue mountains 
and sun-checkered plains, rubbed the inquiring heads of 
Thalma and Superb and their gangs, engaged in the un- 
worldly job of eating inedible-looking moss on the rocky 
summit, but quite innocent as to the whereabouts of 
Dignity. Baffled, we descended. Turning into the lane, 
I gave a sudden grin : in the barn-yard stood a little black 
and white form, Diggie, "ipse, ipsissimus!" meditat- 
ing by the trough. 

"Well, Pip," I said, amused, "we got him, anyway!" 
Leading him into the barn, I put the harness on, draping 
it respectfully about him, lifting his thick white tail, so 
boneless and unsuspicious, into the crouper (an older, 
more experienced pony clamps down a stiff tail-bone, like 
a horse), and buckling the little girths. He is accustomed 
to the bit, having been ridden a few times last summer^ 



and so he chewed only moderately on that and stepped out 
of the barn like a little man, perplexed by his blinkers but 
trying to behave as if he knew all about everything. That 
is a Shetland's pride, never to be astonished at anything. 
He stared deeply at the bright-red cart awaiting him, but 
stood quiet and calm while I popped shafts over him, 
slipped the nearest one into the loop, then reached in- 
formally over the little back and put in the other, without 
having to go round ! That is a help, with a f retty pony. 
But there was no fret in Dig. Growing very bold, I 
hauled at the traces to fasten them ; I even shifted the cart 
back and forth to adjust the holdbacks ; he did not budge. 
Putting a hand under the collar to be sure it "set" right, 
and informing Diggie that he was a seraph from the 
skies, I took up the reins. He yawed a little, then bent 
to his job. The cart moved off ! 

I walked behind it. Up the hill of the mowing road, to 
show him how to pull (and if he wanted to run away it 
would n't matter) ; down it again, to show him how to 
hold back, which he did like a Trojan, bracing his fore 
legs, squaring his little fat hips (no cart was going to 
push him down that hill !), and sitting nobly back into the 
breeching. He seemed to need no showing; so then it 

was we for 

... the open road, 

And the bright eyes of danger! 

The little red cart-wheels rattled abominably over a 
stony bit ; but not a flick of an ear cared he. Down the 
steep pitches we went where he grew irked with the 
weight of the cart, and I had to soothe a little; then out 
on the safer flat by the willows, where I took a flying 
mount over the back of the seat. Though the shafts 



whopped outrageously up and down, the good little chap 
disregarded them, only turning a wondering ear backward. 
So, very grandly, we debouched on the main road and set 
off for the village. O excellent Dig! at a most narrow 
turn we heard a roaring, and the bonnet of a big car shot 
over a hill; into the gutter we swung and out again, 
without comment from my ready-made steed. Bless his 
heart ! He held up his square nose, with the square fore- 
top bobbing upon it, and traveled like the sturdy chap he 
is; his neck is square, too. He looked too darling! I 
stepped out backward several times, just to look at him; 
and wanted to hug him. But he was too beautifully on 
his job. 

We drew up in front of the post-office, collected mail 
and ten pounds of sugar, and started homeward. The 
first turning is always awkward ; with a shaft boring into 
his shoulder, Dig's eye grew momentarily fiery, but he 
regained his calm and trotted off, tugging me and the 
sugar gamely up die hills. On the pitches I saw that his 
shoulder-muscles were shaking, and dismounted hastily. 
At every thankymarm Dig gazed round at me affection- 
ately, panting hard to show how much I was doing for 
him, but, upon teaching the shed, dropped his head and 
stood, quivering, too tired even to nip at grass. The 
mental strain of a first trip is tremendous ; for a Shetland 
gets his education at a gulp. Dignity was now a fully 
trained pony I 

* * * 

May 21. 

Boo-boo is wringing my heart. Every day, sometimes 
twice a day, he catches a chipmunk and, pr-owing, brings 



it to my feet. Or I am on the spot and see him as he 
catches it. My terrace chipmunk, my barn chipmunk, the 
chipmunk that races along the orchard wall; the half- 
dozen of them that chirp and boast on the wood-piles 
scarce one but has been laid before me, and is decorated 
with tooth-marks. For I rescue, as regularly as Boo 
captures them. We have a perfect system. Perhaps I am 
in the. living-room and hear wauls approaching the 
muffled sounds that announce a mouthful. I dash out; 
there comes that yellow thing, with a bunch of brown 
under his chin. I see the chipmunk's bright eye, his jerk- 
ing leg ; Boo has him gripped by the shoulder only. "Drop 
that chipmunk !" I order. And Boo-boo obediently opens 
his jaws. (What feline but a rabbit-cat would be simple 
enough to do that, day after day?) Sometimes the victim 
darts away; sometimes he hops crazily up and down a 
moment (while Boo's eyes go black, and I hook a finger 
securely in his collar!), and then makes his escape; but 
we have never yet had one so seriously damaged that he 
could not, sooner or later, run away. 

So all our Star Hill chipmunks are branded. I marvel 
at their subsequent calm. Tooth-marks seated, chirping, 
on the wall; tooth-marks gliding impudently across my 
path; tooth-marks loudly courting destruction on the sum- 
mit of a wood-pile! They even sit there, conspicuously 
lashing their tails, as Boo-boo approaches; and though 
they keep a pretty steady eye on him, not till the last 
possible moment do they cease their advertising chip! 
Sporty chipmunks, indeed; and I suspect that some of 
them have been caught and tooth-marked more than once. 

One day it was a song-sparrow. He lay limp in my 
hand, and I despaired of him ; but put him in a box on the 



kitchen floor, with some cracker-crumbs. On coming out, 
later, I saw him perched on a water-pipe overhead, looking 
alertly around ! I flung open the door. "Cheep !" said he, 
and did one brown flit to the balsam-tree. There he 
seemed to be rejoicing over his escape; he flew about, 
chirruped, told the phcebe-birds all about it, then darted 
away to a young maple-tree and burst into glorious song. 
... I was so happy. That is the only bird Boo has 
brought Just now he is infatuated with fur. 

# # # 

May 22. 

The time has come of the night-murmuring of Alpha 
and Omega. Hitherto their leaves have not been big 
enough to murmur, but now the winds lift them, and 
lovely sounds begin. Very different from their summer 
song, which is crisp and rustly; this is smooth as satin a 
deciduous sound, soft as any pine-tree's voice, without the 
moan of it. You 'd know it came from something vivid- 
green. The leaves are large, yet not stiff; their clusters 
still hang silkily, like little green umbrellas. . . . 

Last evening there was a bright half-moon, and Goliath 
and I went out on the terrace. The orchard is half out of 
bloom all the more fairy-like, with the faintly bright 
crowns above the crooked, ink-black stems. Their shad- 
ows were not sharp but lay softly in the moonlit fair- 
ness of the grass. Beyond, our mountain mowing and its 
black woods rose against a sky of dazzling, fair blue. . . . 
But the orchard, in that light, 'made one think of beach- 
plum blossoming on the sand-dunes a perfect bit of Jap- 
anese art. There is an economy about a dune, a simplicity 
of line and color, that is in itself Japanese; put against 



that the wind-blown growth of a beach-plum, with its 
crooked, brown branches, and blossoms a ravishing pale- 
pink, and you have something, as painters say. It makes 
one wriggle to be there! . . . Legs of one's camp-stool 
sunk deep in sand. . . . Sand in one's paint-box but 
never mind! . . . 

Above us towered the two mountains of trees. Alpha 
was ink-black, the moon glittering through chinks of her ; 
but one side of 'Mega was in soft light. There was a 
fiddling in her leaves ; her boughs began a gentle dance ; 
the murmuring rose, lulled, passed across the river of 
light, between them, and did the same to Alpha. One big 
star and two small ones glittered in the river which ran 
down and made a tide-harbor of itself along a dark 
shore of mountains. The shape of that blue river, and its 
Sowings along the hills, is conspicuous in moonlight; 
exactly like a dozen basin-harbors I know on the dear old 
Cape. The stars should be cat-boats, anchored about; but 
where, oh where, are the mosquitoes ? 

* * # 

May 24. 

People from town are beginning to wander back into 
the hills. I am getting dreadfully social yesterday might 
have gone to two dinners. Polly and I sauntered five 
miles over the mountains to the selected one, for the 
valley roads were dusty and a scorching wind burned one's 
skin. But it was a beautiful dinner. Afterward, when 
we were having coffee on the lawn, I could look across 
valleys to a bald spot on a hilltop and that was our own 
pasture knoll ! One could almost fancy Ocean Wave with 
her chin on the back fence, yammering to get out! . . . 



Jolly, to supervise one's belongings from the middle of a 

Outdoors is growing renewedly social, too. For days I 
have been surrounded by happy catbirds. White bloom 
has gone from the little orchard, and a brown fuzz taken 
its place. Infant cherries are forming under the fuzz, and 
well do the robins and catbirds know it. Day after day 
they sit around, shouting anticipations from every tree, 
and as soon as a lone cherry is ripe they swoop at it. It is 
so inhumane of cherries to ripen one by one ! They really 
can't be picked that way. As a rule, we have one tart a 
year ; the birds have the rest. This year I even think they 
are trying pure green ones. It is the only season when I 
do not enjoy robins. One comes to loathe their conquer- 
ing shouts, their greedy flashings, their reluctant flight as 
one shoos them away. With all one's efforts they only flit 
a. tree or two off and are back again. 

Catbirds are much shyer. They shoo beautifully. I 
never expected to be intimate with a catbird ; never par- 
ticularly cared for them ; their song can be bewitching, but 
lapses so readily into mer-auls; and I have always thought 
:hem an unpleasant color soot-gray, like a chimney- 
swallow. One expects that color on a chimney-swallow, 
whose brilliant, forked shape somehow redeems it ; but on 
\ chubby person inhabiting clean hedgerows it seems un- 
aecessary. ... I had a chimney-swallow in my hands 
yesterday, by the way; poor darling, he came down the 
big chimney into the living-room and was banging him- 
self frightfully on windows. I picked him up from the 
wdndow-seat, where he was lying, panting hard, and with 
Dne eye closed and swollen, the eye on top, so he did n't 
see me, and jumped dreadfully when I took him in my 



hands. I opened them at the doorwhoof! he was gone. 
Over Omega in one flash ! 

For the last week a catbird has been spending her time 
in the wild grape-vine beside our living-room window- 
seat. It is a quiet corner, composed chiefly of orchards, 
sunsets, solitude, and grape-vine ; and one noon there was 
the flicky thing right outside, hopping about and chirping 
to herself. Then she flitted to the upper window-sash 
and clung there, staring in with all her might ! She even 
gave three pecks on the glass ; but the sash was too sligh* 
for a good hold, and she dropped to the sill. There she 
strutted complacently along, pecking the glass and cock- 
ing her head as though beholding marvels. 

I stood transfixed. She was staring right at me. Pres- 
ently she flicked back into the vine again, wormed her way 
into its thickest part, and seemed, from her bent head, to 
be arranging something. ... A catbird nest right by 
my window? . . . Yes, she had a straw in her mouth. 
The unspeakable dear ! ... If Boo came round that cor- 
ner ! But he is busy in fields and barns. . . . The catbird 
fussed and fussed, in the tangled vine a sort of cradle, of 
crossed brown grape-stems. Twenty times she laid her 
straw down, and took it up again ; finally, staring absently 
about, she dropped it. Apparently she didn't care for 
that particular straw. She flicked and flirted around a bit 
more I could see the swelling of her throat in sotto voce 
conversations ; then suddenly sat back and tugged hard at 
a last year's grape-tendril a curly one, dried and brown. 
After a prolonged tussle, she gave it up. 

"Sorry, bird," I murmured. "I } ve tried to pick those 
grape-hitchers; and they're tough!" 

Later, she flew into her vine just as I was sitting down 


at my table not two feet from the glass ! This was dread- 
ful. It was my writing-corner; but I simply would n't 
scare that bird. I sat very still, wondering how it was to 
be done. Move the desk, some time when she wasn't 
there ? . . . But there she was; and I strained my neck to 
watch her. Near to, her color was really pretty ; a clear, 
clean gray much lighter than it looks in the bushes her 
black cap the neatest shape, and under her "tail-coverts" 
(as the bird book calls them !) an inch or more of brilliant, 
and fashionable, color henna. (The bird book calls it 
"chestnut" ; but it calls everything that. The head of a 
chippie! which is red. A lovely dark red. I think I 
know ! Did n't our Mrs. Chip eat round our table all last 
summer?) . . . My catbird flashed her tail a great deal, 
showing off the color nicely. Her eye, prominent and 
black, was set in the side of her flat-topped head rather 
like a duckling's ; in fact, she slightly resembled, in profile, 
a duck except for her pointed bill. (A duck has an 
Ethiopian bill! A thick-lipped bird.) She kept talking 
to herself, but mostly hopping about and fiddling with 
her straws. The room was quiet ; I could hear her little 
notes now : rather like a tiny chicken's peepings, when it 
is very happy and busy. . . . Her eyes were so bright! 
I have rarely seen a more jubilant-looking bird every 
motion jaunty and conclusive. 

But she was a dilettante at nest-building, seeming quite 
divided between that and song and staring at me. So far 
her nest consisted of about six straws, lopping about on 
the vine. 

"1 11 look her up in the book," I thought, "and see if 
six straws are all they use." 

For she did n't seem at all concerned with bringing any 



more. No mate appeared to help. Every moment or two 
she would pick up a straw and arrange it with fondest 
care ; then hop brightly off and forget about it ! Several 
times she had an enthusiastic idea about grape-hitchers 
again they were irresistible material ; but after a spell of 
hearty tugging would give up, and begin talking to herself. 
I loved to see that gray throat rippling. Sometimes, as if 
a great thought had come to her, she flew swiftly off but 
was back as swiftly, with an empty, and slightly opened, 
beak, giving her a breathless expression. 

After half an hour of this I turned, with careful slow- 
ness, to my typewriter. She cocked her head a little. I 
did a little thump on the keys ; bless her, her throat was 
still going she was singing to herself ! I did a number 
of thumps. She sang on. So, with much relief, I went to 
work, glancing often over my shoulder at the happy per- 
son in the vine. She absolutely did n't care about me ! I 
changed pages ; I rang bells ; I squirmed round to stare at 
her; her little occupations went right on. Occasionally 
she would fly up to the shed roof and let loose a flood of 
song and with never a squall to spoil it. Her life must 
have been all sunshine just then. Somewhere out in the 
trees was another catbird, whose song would chime in 
with hers. . . . 

That afternoon I was at the piano trying some new 
songs a charming one about going out on an April morn- 
ing, all a-lone, for your heart was high. ... So was the 
note! I found myself shrieking, and stopped, with a 
guilty swing toward the window. My bird! But out- 
side on a bush she sat, undaunted; and as I stopped she 

"Biff! Fiddley-widdley. You-don't-say-so ! High- 



jinks!! Ge-ra-nium? . . . Biff! Meechy-meechy. What- 
what?" and so on. Laughing, I sat down on the stool 
again. If my "heart" had been that "high" and she not 
notice it, I would go on; I would be (piano) a child of 
the shining meadow, and a (crescendo) Sister of the 
Sky ! I was. She did n't mind. I repeated it. She sang 
the louder. . . . Evidently, a bird with charming, "injy- 
rubber" nerves. The kind all birds should have. . . , 

For several days this intimacy continued. I managed 
to slide into my chair without disturbing her; but I 
thought she seemed more absent in her ways, less con- 
cerned with straws, more taken up with tapping on the 
window, or staring through it with fixed, bright eyes. Her 
little babble was constantly in my ear ; but I was troubled 
about her growing aimlessness. There seemed fewer 
straws than ever; if she touched one, she invariably 
dropped it. Was her intention weakening? or did I really 
trouble her by my presence ? I had grown so used to her 
I almost forgot she was there ; and, one evil day, hearing 
sounds from the barn, made an unpremeditated rush from 
my chair. 

"Mi-auw!" came from the grape-vine. The call of 
woe! I had frightened her, beshrew me! And a gray 
form flitted off across the orchard. . . . "Mi-auw!" 
dimly, from a distant tree. My heart sank. She had 
nerves after all. 

I never saw her again. 

I miss her frightfully. Catbirds are everywhere now, 
shouting from the trees, and I suppose she is one of the 
shouters; but I wish she would come back, and cling to 
the window-sash, and help me write. 



May 26. 

Returning from a Saturday drive to town, with a cart 
full of petunias and pansies, I turned a very hot Dolly 
into the paddock and watched her ecstatic rollings. I do 
love to see a horse making itself comfortable ! Dolly is 
very thorough; back and forth on the cool turf she wal- 
lowed, flopping her tail, scrubbing her ears and neck, 
groaning delightedly. Then she came up with a sigh of 
pure pleasure, staring at me, her feet drawn in close to 
her body, all four shiny shoes showing. A simple-hearted 
pose ; but dear Dolly was very happy. Leisurely putting 
out one fore leg, she rubbed her nose thoughtfully upon it, 
then got up with a great flummux. A shake, three 
sneezes, and, with a little frisk, as much as to say, "How 
much better I feel \" she turned away. 

A movement in the lane caught my eye: old Superb, 
rising from a nap. "You look hollow, S'perbie," I 
thought, scrutinizing her. "What's the matter?" Su- 
perb's chestnut has faded; she looks a sort of yellow 
against the fresh green; and beside her, as she fed, lay 
another yellow spot! The spot moved; then a little head 
lifted itself. "The colt I" I cried, and joyfully climbed the 
fence, my heart bounding. Superb raised a haggard face, 
but lowered it to mull proudly over her precious baby, 
who just then heaved up, quakily, upon its feet. 

"Such a tall child, Superb!" I congratulated; "such 
long legs !" 

It had four white stockings adorning the long legs ; a 
nice short back; a short, curly, silky black mane (with a 
dab of white at the withers, to be like Mother) ; a curly 



bob of a tail, set high like a hobby-horse's but oh, dear ! 
what a funny nose! Superb's baby was undershot as 
undershot as an English bull, only, instead of a row of 
teeth, a tier of innocent gum protruded, red as red flannel. 
Above that the nostrils receded; a retrousse nose, indeed; 
Would it always be that way ? Never before had we had 
an undershot baby. . . . Otherwise, it was a darling, fat 
and round, and only a little wabbly on its legs, though not 
more than an hour or two old. It burrowed for a drink ; 
then stood on three legs and scratched an ear with the 
fourth! An able baby. A human, at that age, doesn't 
know it 's got an ear to scratch. I always thought infant 
guinea-pigs wonderful because they washed their faces as 
soon as they were born ; but scratching your ear must be 

Then I inspected the mother. "You must go out in the 
mowing, Superb," I decided. So I steered them both 
through the gate, Superb very nervous, whinnering, and 
looking back every instant for the baby fat, swaggering 
thing that he was ! But she fell hungrily on the long grass 
and clover just outside, tearing at leaves, blossoms, plan- 
tains, kale, anything, so long as it was fresh and green. I 
watched her with indignant compassion. Fancy your 
pasture beginning to dry up in May ! But it is. ... Even 
the baby bent his short neck and sniffed at a tall spear; but 
his legs are so long he '11 have to graze off banks for some 
time or keep to a milk diet. 

He had been born in the barn-yard. Our own mothers 
always go to the woods, but Superb, being a comparative 
stranger, had made her nest near by. Just a smooth bit 
of ground behind the salt-rocks, but well hidden by the 
processional weeds, which grew about in stately clumps, 



needlessly splendid! We should raise roses and cucum- 
bers in that yard. . . . But the ranks of weeds, with their 
spiky bud-clusters atop (which seem to mean exciting 
blossoms, but just fizzle away in no color at all, though to 
the great and yearly gratification of the bees), made high 
green walls for a retiring-room. Missis, she knew, would 
be sure to come through soon and then everything would 
be attended to. The child would be seen, admired. . . . 

3f * # 

May 28. 

Purry took me for such a jolly little drive to-night. 
Purry is an old, old, drivin'-hoss, having been in the cart 
as much as four times ! At first she was frightened and 
mutinous and jerked me all over the place, but is growing 
correspondingly good. She held back learnedly down the 
pitches; stood on three legs (as a driving-horse should) 
before the store; and, though she did shy violently upon 
the putting-green in front of the Inn, it was only because 
an unexpected boat came nosing out in the curve of the 
brook near by, and Purry had never seen a boat. The 
Inn proprietor stared at us. A wheel-track on his precious 
green! . . . 

It was twilight when we turned our corner, with gold 
over the black woods, the lush grass in the meadow very 
golden-green, and lit up with fireflies. It being a damp 
evening with a strong wind blowing, the wise little things 
did not try to fly, but crept up and down the grass-stems, 
and in the dusk the meadow was illuminated as if by 
buried incandescents. The rich, glowing golden-green, 
with myriads of twinkling lights moving in it, was rarely 
beautiful. . . . Oh and the fresh wind blowing, the roar 
of the woods, near and far the wild sway of great 


branches overhead ! But the meadow of fireflies enchained 
one most; I did want Purry to stand and look at it a 
moment; but her little hoofs were playing a desperate 
Home-Sweet-Home on the road, and so I let her go. She 
dashed! taking me on one wheel round the bend, but I 
had to slow her down for the hills. She took me com- 
petently up, while I watched those slender white ankles, 
marveling at their strength. Their motions were less 
convulsive than big Dolly's. . . . 

At the shed Purry dropped her nose and assured me 
she was an exhausted pony, but held it up gaily to trot 
round to the yard, then went hoo-hooing out the lane 
after her vanished companions. . . . Distant answering 
whinners fell from the high knoll ; there were quick little 
hoof-beats (those hoof-beats I so love to hear) on the 
wind, the crack of flying stones, a fainter pattering 
then silence. Night under the stars ! and only the fireflies 
moving in the paddock swamp, whose grasses shone green- 
gold on the dark. . . . 'More faint whinners. One could 
fancy them all together far up under the sky, with the 
scent of dewy pasture, the breath of mountains to breathe, 
partridges to wake them in the morning, and every day 
to see a sunrise. 

June i. 

June! Sunshine, glorious skies, drought, and daisies. 
Lavender daisies in the long orchard grass, blooming in 
sunny patches, or in the patterns of orchard-shadow 
soft of edge and drawable. In the shadow the daisies 
look very blue-lavender lovely with the warm tints of 
the grasses; more pinkish in the sunshine. On sunny 



bits of the terrace cinnamon roses are in bright pink bloom 
brighter than usual ; they 're prettier when a little more 
lavendery ; but under the cedars they are still in tight buds, 
waiting till my child comes home. 

Education ! . . . This charm and that goes by : the May 
moon, apple-blossoms, the best of the bird-song, tints of 
the woodlands (which are now one disgusting green), 
flowers in the woods, the newness of Superb's new baby ; 
and still Babs does not come. . . . Never mind! It will 
be over, this education, at least the precise, dated sort, 
some day. . . . But this morning, when I came out to 
the beauty of the fresh-opened roses, "Darn you!" I 
exploded ; and then kissed them in abject apology. But it 
is cruel of everything to be so forward! Never before 
have the leaves on Alpha and Omega been so large ; never 
has ascertain dear little shrub with snowy double blossoms 
like a Banksia rose, bloomed on the terrace wall; never 
has our own asparagus salad departed from the menu 
without her being here with me to rejoice in them. . * . 
Looking at that shrub yesterday, I had a worse sense of 
desolation and lack than in midwinter when all was howl- 
ing winds and snow. One had arranged to be lonely then ! 
was stiffened to bear it; but these soft things beat one 
down. One is limp weepy. . . . Of the two I prefer 
the "darn you" state of mind! 

Cressy is most exasperating. I am still going for milk 
of going without it ! when, according to the calendar, 
she should have had that calf days ago. My egg man 
assures me, by some abstruse mathematics of his own, that 
it is because she is six years old that she is going ten days 
over; whereas a farmer who looked at her remarked that 
"Seein* her age, she ought to be putty near on time!" 



(Take your choice!) In my heart I think that Cressy is 
all -right and that it is I who am off in my reckoning. 
She is so assured, so calm. Daily her benevolence in- 
creases. She is shiny bronze-color and cream-white, satin- 
smooth and very beautiful. Her immense bag, with large 
veins showing on it, reminds one of champion milkers, 
with their tremendous udders, and fluffed tassels on their 
venerated tails. If my Cressy's silver tail-end were 
washed and frilled and stuck out like that (doubtless 
done up in uncomfortable curlers overnight!) it would 
be quite as beautiful, but her expression would not be as 
serene. No cow enjoys having her tail meddled with. If 
I even touch Cressy's, she immediately arranges it in the 
neatest coil on her spine, out of the way. "Mine, if you 
please 1" says she. 

Never before has Cressy had such an outdoor vacation, 
with all obligations thrown to the winds; she must feel 
like Queen Victoria, who said (with a pathos known only 
to queens) that the month when her babies were born was 
the only rest she knew. Victoria had nine. This will be 
Cressy's third. Her other two came in the winter, when 
"drying off" meant merely the daily privilege of being 
out in the cold barn-yard longer than usual, and of having 
her grain ration cut down. But this spring she has had a 
glorious range, and could stare at sunsets all she chose. 
Pico and Killington could be had for the asking; in the 
nick of time, thistles and raspberry-bushes came into 
tender or acid leaf. (Cressy does not like sweetbrier, I 
am glad to say.) . . . Then she could roam the woods, 
drink of their rushing surface brooks (flavored slightly 
with, hemlock), or meander in leisurely cow- fashion far- 
ther down, to the spring behind the poplar cliff. There 



she could taste, hawthorn-blossoms and sprays of black- 
berry, both of which confine themselves to that side of the 
pasture, or amuse herself with picking out a secluded 
nursery in the undergrowth. 

For I suppose that even my confiding Cressy will hide 
her calf. Everybody says they all do. How they must 
hate the exposure of a barn ! I am thankful Cressy for 
once can choose her own place. . . . One will see what 
the poor thing really wants. 

Bally Beg is being trained to harness. Funny, to be 
driving something about as big as a sixpence ! I can fairly 
wade in Bally. He was mild at first, too busy with champ- 
ing the unbearable bit to object to anything else ; but later 
he came to and had nervous prostration all round the 
wood-pile and past the corner of the shed. He shied at 
the delphiniums, which stuck out bright-blue spears at 
him; he whirled when a chipmunk raced past us on the 
wall; his black chin was curbed on his chest, and fire 
resided in his eye. I always thought there would be life 
in Bally. He took all one's wits for a few minutes ; when 
I tried to have him rest, he stamped one little rebellious 
foot and gnashed furiously at the bit ! 

To-day he goes sedately. He even consented to step 
upon the terrace and confront a fearful dragon in the' 
shape of a reclining chair. Lucile, giggling, and her feet 
nearly dragging, has ridden him out the lane and back; 
but when I take up his reins I still feel as if I were driv- 
ing Boo-boo ! 

* # * 

June 2, 

Everything is getting beautifully ready for my child. 
A man on a step-ladder labored with ceilings; then a 



valiant papering-woman from the village came up, and I 
brushed paste on wall-paper while she measured and 
smoothed. The job looks professional, too! Farmers' 
wives always do their own papering." This one is a widow, 
a farm-graduate, but now the village dressmaker, nurse, 
and paperer a rosy-cheeked, benevolent philosopher be- 
sides, and not a gossip. This seems almost a "contra- 
diction in terms'* ; but it is true, and it is in a state of ever- 
renewed wonder that I deposit her at her door in the 

The pleasant tan-colored paper being freshly on, I made 
new blue and white Japanese curtains to wave against the 
greenery outside. On Decoration day I painted the floor. 
A can of tan paint was the foundation, but for some time 
I sat on the back step and had a lovely time with a tube 
of American cobalt so blue a blue that one was desper- 
ately afraid of stirring in too much. I wanted a cool 
gray, with the slightest tint of green, and American cobalt 
did it; so I stirred paint, and slopped paint, till every oily 
thread of blue was absorbed, then tried a triumphant dab 
on the pump and fell to. The broad old maple boards, 
with their generous, puttied cracks, were interesting to 
follow; what primeval timber they were hewed from ! and 
how simple it was to cover, with a few shining strokes, 
the sins of the past years ! In knickerbockers and one's 
oldest blouse, one covered with zeal. 

In the midst of it, when about four great boards had 
been achieved, came the whir of a car in our woods. I 
painted stolidly on. This was a holiday, without my child 
the most dismal of occasions; one's friends ought to 
know that one makes a point of working obliterating on 
such a day. . . . 



A rap at the door. Paint-brush belligerently in hand, I 
presented myself and behold a literary gentleman, gar- 
nished with a bouquet of azaleas, come to call. Blessed 
be paint-brushes ! The big car soon purred down the hill, 
and I contentedly set to. Paint was literariness enough 
for me ; for as the heavy brush slopped and slip-slopped 
in my hand, making thick, succulent noises, like a hungry 
puppy, ideas and phrases coursed perversely through my 
brain. . . . But I painted myself out with amazing in- 
telligence, toward the kitchen door, whose sill, after all, 
I was glad to reach. Arm ached ferociously; brow 
dripped. Sopping up from the bottom of the pail a last 
driblet of gray-green, I drew it along a weavery edge, and 
arose gasping. 

The azaleas, from a copper pot, confronted my spat- 
tered self reproachfully. I ran for a clean blouse. As I 
pulled it on, a feeling of insult grew in one's irrational 
mind. . . . Nice way to spend a holiday! , . . Saddling 
Polly, Gli and I went for a redeeming gallop. 

Next morning paint was dry; dry enough for tiptoeing! 
so I hung Japanese curtains, set mahogany sparsely about, 
put roses in a gray stone jug, adjusted the notes of blue 
on sill and wall ; and it was done. In the front windows, 
curtains always behave; but as soon as I had hung them 
at the side window, near which the wood-stove stands, a 
fresh east breeze sprang up and the right-hand drapery 
flew straight for the top of its well-blackened neighbor. 
I never knew this to fail. 

My heart leaps up when I behold 
The curtains on the stove! 

I misquoted savagely, coming in from the kitchen with 
more roses ; for there they were, all fresh and clean, wip- 



ing their hems affectionately round the sooty pipe. . . . 
I looped them irately back. They shall stay clean for my 

June 5. 

Things have been happening. Two days ago I missed 
Cressy. She had n't slept in the shed ; she had n't come 
down for a drink or a word with me I don't know 
which is more essential to her happiness! So, feeling 
very new at these matters, I asked the cheerful boy to 
help me look her up. Lucile came with him. Each of us 
had a rope. Great, according to the cheerful boy, is the 
strategy of cows on these occasions. "Me V my brother 
followed one of ours once, an' she made as straight a line 
as you ever see right up acrost the pasture to th' woods. 
We took after her, but she kep' right on. She headed 
daown through a clear bit in th' woods, but by a clump o' 
bushes she kinda turned her head and give a look at it, 
She kep' right on a-goin', but my brother says, 'I bet 
you that calf is in them bushes/ An' J t was. Hid up, 
right in the thick of 'em/' 

"Well, could you catch her?" I asked interestedly. 

"Sure!" he returned. "Druv 'em both t' th' yard." 
Such paucity of detail ! One has absolutely to dig, to get 
a story out of any of these boys. They take it for granted 
that details are as dully familiar to you as to them, 
whereas I am thrilled over details! I wanted to know 
just how that cow acted, how far she "kep* on goin' " in 
the woods, whether she was ugly when she saw they had 
her calf, how the calf behaved, etc. that is how one 
conducts extension-courses for oneself in farm matters! 



We reached the woods. The cheerful boy was to take 
the cliff trail and the woods, Lucile the high knoll, and 
I the back pasture, a bushy expanse, dotted with wooded 
islands. Any one who found anything was to yell. The 
cheerful boy was convinced he 'd find her in the woods ; 
I felt she would be in underbrush whence I had seen her 
horns protruding some days before! . . . 

At noon a weary three straggled out of the edges of 
the woods. Not a sign of a cow had any of us seen ! And 
we had simply scraped that pasture. . . . 

"I seen her tracks/' declared the cheerful boy, scratch* 
ing a puzzled head. "Eight daown here in this woods. 
But I did n't see her . . ." and then my jaw fell. 

"Look!" I gasped. There, out of some hemlocks, or 
was I seeing a ghost? dragged a disheveled form. 
Cressy? . . . 

"That's her," murmured the boy, as one dazed. I 
leaped -off Polly. . . . Yes Cressy. Walking slowly, 
draggingly. Thin, hollow-sided, wretched-looking and 
no calf! 

"What ?" I gasped again. "Where's the calf? 

Has n't she had a calf ?" 

"Yep!" replied the cheerful boy, recovering. "She's 
had it, all right. She 's goin' daown f er a drink. Gosh, 
what a bag !" 

"But but we must find the calf!" I cried. 

The boy grinned. "Hid up !" he said. "You milk her, 
then you keep her in couple hours, and when you let her 
aout she '11 go straight to it. We could n't never find it 
in them woods !" 

"Well," I cried, running to my horse, "let *s hurry, then. 

She may " 



"No, she won't !" said my preceptor calmly. "She don't 
look as if she 'd had a drink fer two days. She 's goin' 
t' the yard!" 

Sure enough. Cressy was taking her way weakly, but 
with purpose, down the green slopes. We followed. 
"Could you," I said, apologetically "I know it's your 
dinner-time, but could you milk her for me? Her bag 
looks so frightful and I 'm afraid she will kick " 

"Yes, I '11 milk her for you," he said indulgently. . . . 
Cressy stayed a long while at the trough. Her eye was 
red-rimmed, anxious, feverish-looking; she paid no more 
attention to me than if I had been a barn-yard rock. . . . 

"Did she kick much?" I asked, when the boy had fin- 
ished milking. "And is the bag very bad ?" 

"Not too much !" he replied good-naturedly. "The bag 
ain't too bad." 

So definite! 

At two o'clock I stole softly into the cow barn. An 
angry head was turned to me. "Br aww!" muttered 
Cressy ferociously. The chain fell ; she simply bolted out 
of the narrow door. She drank again, then looked around 
her. Hurry seemed to leave her. She wandered out the 
lane; ate a few bites. But I darted around to the stable 
for Polly. The cheerful boy had impressed on me: 
"Keep an eye on her ! Don't let her think you 're f ol- 
lowin' her ; bu* don't let her git away from ye. She '11 
go like a streak when she does go." 

Polly's eye, as I saddled her, was wild. She knew 
something was in the wind, and leaped the barn sill with 
me. ... I trotted her quietly up the turfy edge of the 
lane. Ah, there was Cressy still loitering. By the 
mother-bank now. Working along! "She isn't going 



very 'straight to the woods/ " I thought, dismounting and 
leading Polly across the pasture to a hillock behind which 
we could be concealed, yet see almost to the top of the 
knoll. . . . 

The mountains were very blue; it was a perfect June 
day, with great white clouds in piled masses, flinging 
shadows on hills and valleys. Just below us was 
a timbered hillside, sloping precipitously down to a valley ; 
infinite confusion of wooded hills beyond, fading into 
blue ; near us a foreground of bright, dipping pasture, all 
tints of spring. . . . Goodness, where was Cressy? I 
jumped up, trying to see around the maple-grove. . . . 
Clean gone! Darn! I climbed hastily into the saddle. 
Polly tore rashly down the hillock, and up the mother- 
bank, when above the profile of a little knoll, a tail 
swashed. Just the tassel of a cow-tail but enough. She 
was grazing still. . . . 

How very funny! They said she would be in such a 
hurry, and here we 'd been waiting more than an hour 
already. I hoped she would hurry. It would get dark 
early, in the woods. ... I felt a little grieved at this ex- 
cessive carefulness on Cressy's part. Didn't she know 
I wouldn't hurt her precious baby? Pony-mothers are 
so different. Superb was delighted to have me see her 
child. They look you up to show you what 's happened ! 
And here was Cressy, thinking, dodging. . . . 

Holding Polly's reins, I sat down again, and ate wild 
strawberries. The fragrance of them, in the hot sun! 
and the prettiness ! I gave a cluster to Polly. . . . But 
we were nearer the woods; I mustn't let Cressy get a 
start on us. Mounting, I peered over the little knoll; 
I could just see a cow-back proceeding, with great leisure 



and casualness, up and down the dimpling hollows cir- 
cling blackberry-bushes, but slowly, yes, purposefully 
going. We followed. 

Soon she strolled by the corner of the notch, but still 
grazing exasperatingly. She 'd lift her head ; look about ; 
take a few swift steps; then down would go her head 
again. One couldn't blame the poor hollow-sided thing. 
. . . But the sun was sinking. It was right over the 
woods now the tall black woods across the sharp rise. 
Cressy suddenly scrambled up that rise ; by Jove, it looked 
as if she were off ! With amazing swiftness those brown 
and white legs ambled over the top; I dug my heel into 
Polly, and we bolted toward the slope, my eye glued 
to that sunset cow. I did n't care if she did see us and 
then I hauled desperately on the bit, and ducked down 
beside Polly's mane. Oh, for a helmet of invisibility! 
Cressy had suddenly turned her head; two great illumi- 
nated cow-ears stared down at us; black against the 
sunset, with a halo of brightness about each of them 
and what an accusing expression! Polly backed and 
fidgeted, but I lay glued to her neck. . . . When she had 
finally backed me into a sumac, stumbled into a hollow 
of blue violets, and grazed her leg on a stray pile of wood, 
I thought it time to look up. No cow! We made the 
rise. There was Cressy, about fifty feet away . . . 
turning a head and inspecting us ... grazing again. . . . 
Tying Polly in the edge of the woods, I stole behind 
brush and saplings, and waited. Cressy grazed slowly by 
me. She approached the mouth of a wood-road. For a 
long time I watched her, also watched the fatal march 
of shadows sliding, sliding down the slopes; the re- 
treat of sunlight before them. Cressy's tail was being 



gradually absorbed in wood-shadows, and so I crept along, 
darting across a bit of openness, gaining another thick 
clump, going on hands and knees over a bare spot for 
she was going! Down the wood-road. Looking back 
over her shoulder every other step. In a little dip, she 
paused and stared ; swashed her tail ; then suddenly turned 
back! moving up the wood-road toward me. Despair! 
She *d winded me or something. . . . Now she 'd never 
go ! Would she see me as she passed ? She gazed suspi- 
ciously to right and left but walked by. ... And began 
to graze! Drat! Darn! I stole back into my green 
brush again. This time I 'd wait till she 'd really gone 
and trust to luck to follow her. . . . Stumbling into a 
little hollow behind a bunch of brush, I concluded to stay 
in it. A grand hiding-place ! I lay flat, and peered out 
through leaves. She wasn't far away. Her footsteps 
made my hollow tremble. 

All at once she stared in my direction and came tramp- 
ing over! The hollow shook a great head, two white 
horns, shoved in through the leaves; and a pair of red 
eyes stared down into mine. Discovered! Cressy's ex- 
pression was that of an angry parent. I felt somehow 
extremely guilty, and ducked my head into the leaves, 
while she stood there, breathing indignantly, over me. 
. . . Brown hat, brown khaki wouldn't she perhaps 
think I was just leaves? I lay very still. Animal judg- 
ment was going on above. A snort a loud-breathed 
"Whoo!" and the hollow shook again. She moved away. 

After a little, I ventured to sit up. That had been a 
horrid moment! My forehead was wet. Cressy was 
working down toward Polly, eating thistles in a hollow. 
She approached, blew a questioning breath . . , then 



actually went up and examined that horse! I could see 
her snuffing at the saddle. She went to the other side, 
I saw a cow-nose protrude an instant above Polly's 
withers. "Sassy thing!" I muttered. "Going to find out, 
are n't you?" But then if she was so sure I was around 
Polly, she couldn't have recognized me in that hollow! 
Hooray! She was slinking toward the woods; she was 
oozing into them ; she was gone ! 

On tiptoe, but taking tremendous strides, I pursued 
her. Now or never! Into the woods how the beastly 
leaves crackled ! But wild joy was surging in me. Also 
a worry. . . . Where, in that precipitous twilight, was 
she? No time for tiptoeing; I went plunging along in 
leaps. . . , A flick of whiteness in the gloom thank 
goodness ! it was she. But how swiftly she disappeared ; 
how dark these woods were. And how thick ! Not leafy 
brush, but small defunct saplings crowded together, brit- 
tle yet delaying. I tore my way through them. . . . Sav- 
agely downhill ; darker and darker. I could hear a vague 
crashing ahead ; and, good heavens, I might have been a 
battalion of infantry, for the racket I was making. Over 
a low cliff more dead saplings; the leaves now damp 
and heavy underfoot I didn't know this part of the 
woods at all. And I had lost Cressy. Black trees roofed 
lower and lower overhead. ... I surged desperately 
along. Were those her tracks? I could just see a? darker 
ruffling In the leaf -bed. Looking down at them, I almost 
ran upon her. 

She was standing, quietly, in a sort of grave; her fore- 
legs lower than her hind ones. It was a place she had 
dug in black leaf-loam. Transparent, white, bulb- 
looking things were scattered on the smooth black loam. 



Cressy apparently had been chewing them. They were 
rather like crocus-bulbs. 

"Cressy darling I" I said rather tremblingly I had hur- 
ried so. "Where's your calf, Cressy?" She turned her 
head such a different look. Mild, almost imploring. 
"Dear old girl !" I said, touched. "Is that medicine you 're 
eating? . . . But show me the calf, Cressy! I know it 
is n't here in this damp place. Not a bit a good place, 
Cressy. Come, show me!" And .1 took her head and 
turned her gently round. She was headed at an impene- 
trable thicket. "Go on, old dear !" I urged, wearily, pat- 
ting her; "go on! and show me." ("This is lunacy," I 
said, despairingly, to myself, as Cressy stood before me, 
peering doubtfully into the wood-shadows. "You 've run 
right upon her, and now she '11 go off in the darkness the 
wrong way, and you '11 lose her, and she must be milked 
to-night or that bag will blow up, and ") 

"M-mm," said Cressy softly. She took a step for- 
ward. Murmuring again, she slowly circled a stump 
and stopped, staring straight in front of her. Again came 
the tender little sound. Bewildered, I stared, too, but 
saw nothing. Cressy turned her head slightly to me, then 
looked again. Suddenly I caught my breath ; a rapturous 
smile crept over my face. There, in a leafy basin just 
above us, a tiny, tan-colored creature was getting weakly 
on its legs, trembling, stretching its little head toward its 
mother. It tottered a step or two; Cressy rushed for- 
ward. "Oo-mmmm!" and she nuzzled all over the lit- 
tle thing. Her neck had such a proud arch to it. ... 
What a beautiful calf ! Smooth and very big, for a new 
one, with delicate head and neck fawn-like, the whole 
creature, down to the dainty, deer-colored hoofs. ... A 



real woodland baby. . . . And it was a heifer ! O frab- 
jous day ! . . . How it did push ! How strong those hind 
legs were getting, right before one's eyes! Calves are 
such nice, husky, downright things. . . . This was a nice 
place, after all ; a dry little terrace for the baby, a thick 
roof overhead, and a dusky spot where nobody, even 
ponies, ever came. But now to get her out of it; away 
from the leafiness and the wood-fragrance. Too bad ! 

I slipped on the halter and rope. "Come, Cressy." 
But she would not budge. The baby was behind her. I 
pushed it in front, and Cressy at once dropped a fond 
nose on its withers. It gave a little hop. "Good for 
you !" I cried, laughing. "Sense of humor already, hey?" 
Then Cressy walked a few steps to catch up with her 
ambitious offspring. This was lovely ! For some distance 
we proceeded thus, in little jerks. If the baby was ahead, 
Cressy would move; not otherwise. When we reached 
some thick hemlocks, dragging became difficult; so the 
brilliant thought occurred to me, why not lead the calf? 
I made a rope-halter for the tiny head, and pulled. Noth- 
ing seemed to come ; I looked round, and there was that 
infinitesimal creature digging its toes into the leaf-loam, 
and refusing to budge ! A few hours old, and I could n't 
pull it!" Cressy was muttering angrily. I took off the 
rope, and went along the old way. 

I very much wanted to turn uphill toward the notch; 
but it was bad enough getting them along on the level. 
Trees were so in the way. But that baby was a 
jewel. Once when it grew tired and lagged behind, and 
I was absolutely exhausted trying to lug Cressy, a pic- 
ture of objection, with feet far apart, I cried faintly, 
"Come bossy! . . , C bossy, c' bossy?" with a note of 



helpless interrogation at the end ; and the little thing actu- 
ally cocked her head at me, lifted her ears, and came 
staggering amiably along. I nearly wept with joy. "Bless 
you, baby. . . . C bossy!" And it splurged awkwardly 
forward again, while every time I hauled Cressy up that 
much. The poor calf shambled as if one hind leg would 
be bowed outward forever, but wabbled gamely forward 
when I called. Was it inherited instinct, or mere preco- 
cious brains, this response to an immemorial call? 

For ages and ages, it seemed, we labored through 
those woods; then at last down the darkening pasture 
slopes "C bossy, c j bossy, c' bossy S" My throat ached ; 
I ached all over ; but, by actual dark, Cressy and her calf 
were in the cow barn, and I was worriedly massaging 
that frightful bag. The baby helped, even then. She got 
hungry, and bunted terrifically. I admired the flat, turtle- 
like head undoubtedly bestowed on calves for this very 
purpose. Every bump softened the adamantine mass. 
"Careful!" I breathed, watching these heartless whacks, 
for Cressy would wince, and mutter, and step up and 
down with pain; yet she let her child bang as it would. 
If / had done that, I J d have been in the ceiling. As it 
was, I had to use a bright-yellow cow-balm and be as 
delicate as possible. 

After a long time, the bag was soft enough for milking. 
With one hand I held her hock down; with the other I 
milked. Kick! Wop! and one leaned back out of range 
a moment. Wop! and a dip of angry horns that can't 
quite reach you. . . . Grip that hock as hard as you can. 
Milk again. Hoosh! and you are nearly off your stool; 
take a breath, and go to it again. . . . 

Outside the door Goliath and Boo-boo breathlessly 


waited, sitting side by side. Every minute Boo would get 
up and wind lovingly round the collie's fore legs; then 
seat himself patiently again. (I hadn't let even the 
wisest of all cats in, for fear of irritating poor nervous 
Cressy worse.) So I managed to catch a little hot milk 
for him in a lard-pail; and great was the glory of the 
expedition into the house. Such purring, while the glori- 
ous fluid was being poured out! 

All three of us, and the lantern, went to redeem Polly. 
A shining spot on the dark woods her star, the dear! 
And she was as nearly enthusiastic to see me as my cool 
Polly ever permits herself to be. Boo-boo rode home on 
the saddle-bow, purring violently ; and on the way down 
we included Dolly, and put her to bed with a tremendous 
feed of oats. . . . For days I have been shining her, 
prinking up the cart ; to-morrow I am going to the train ! 

To-morrow. . . . To-morrow! I can't believe it. 
School is over, roses are in bloom, Cressy has had her 
calf and I *m going to the station. And then we '11 
never, never do this again. I don't know what it 's been, 
this winter; but I know we'll never do it again. . . . 
There's Cressy and her baby all happy in the barn; I 
went out for a last look, and the darling innocent angel 
was curled down on a hay bed I made for her, right 
close by Mother, and looking up at me adoringly, as if 
I were a sort of sub-mother too. . . . I am. Cressy was 
lying down, with a lovely cud; I was very still, not to 
disturb them. Peace and happiness. . . . And I don't 
believe Cressy was lamenting the wild woods a bit. 

Yet I thought of that place where she had led me, the 
nest she had chosen with love; the scent of leaves and 



black leaf-loam, the low leaves overhead; Cressy's white 
crocus-medicine; the dank, sweet, forest air; and then I 
saw her here, blissful because of that small, tan-colored 
spot beside her. 
To-morrow to-morrow. . . .